Thursday 14 December 2017

RTE denies that viewers misled over translation of Gaza quotes

Kevin Bakhurst: News chief. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Bakhurst: News chief. Photo: Tony Gavin
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

RTE has denied misleading viewers over a clip of a Palestinian woman talking about the Gaza crisis.

The national broadcaster has been forced to deny misrepresenting the views of a Palestinian woman after it was revealed her comments did not match the clip shown by the station.

RTE issued a statement about the report used on the Six One News last Wednesday after the woman was interviewed from the Gaza Strip.

In the English voice-over of her Arabic comments, the woman is quoted as being "ready to wear an explosive jacket and join the fight".

However, complainants said that this was a mistranslation of what the woman was saying in the excerpt, and said that she was actually talking about children dying.

An online petition complaining about the broadcast and calling for an apology from RTE attracted up to 2,000 signatures.

Kevin Bakhurst, the Deputy Director General of RTE pledged that the station would address issues of the whole clip's translation.


In its statement, RTE said that it wanted to clarify that the news report "did not misinterpret or misrepresent the views of a woman featured within the footage from Gaza.

"The pictures and information featured in the report were received by RTE from the European Broadcasting Union's news service," the statement said.

"The material contained 
pictures of a woman with a lengthy sequence of her shouting in the street. The woman begins by referring to children dying, but she then goes on to say that she is ready to wear an explosive jacket and join the fight.

"The voiceover on the report was not intended to be a direct translation," RTE said.

"The reporter was paraphrasing the woman's view - clearly stated in the information RTE received - that she was ready to resist the Israeli offensive.

"There was no attempt on RTE's part to misconstrue the woman's message or any intention to cause confusion," the statement added.

RTE also published the information that it had received accompanying the footage.

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