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Palestinian Oscar Nominee Detained

by on February 21, 2013

I first found this article on Al Jazeera about A Palestinian Filmmaker Detained at Los Angeles Airport  that described the temporary detention of the director of the oscar-nominated documentary “5 Broken Cameras”. He had been on his way into Los Angeles for the Academy Awards. He was threatened to be sent back to Turkey where he had started his journey, but filmmaker Michael Moore, who had been waiting for the director Burnat, found out about the detention and was the first to report it.

I then went to the New York Times to see whether this story had been reported by U.S. news organizations. I was not sure if this would be a grey area of national security, and if the airport screening processes would go uncriticized. I was happy to find that the NY Times did in fact publish this story: Palestinian Filmmaker Describes Detention at Los Angeles Airport. The article is very interesting because since Moore had been the first person to report the detention (via twitter), a screenshot of his tweet was actually included in the article.

In this particular case, I feel that the NY Times did a good job of representing the story in an accurate way. This story brings up a lot of ethical dilemmas related to national security, but at least from a journalistic standpoint, it seemed to be reported in an appropriate way.

Do you think that it would be ever be OK to not publish a similar story if it is going to defame the security processes of the U.S.? Do you think that the coverage by other news organizations such as Al Jazeera creates an added pressure for news organizations within the U.S. to publish this story? In regards to the airport security itself, how do you think that ethnic profiling can be avoided at all costs while still ensuring national security?


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One Comment
  1. I’m glad to see that the NYTimes and LATimes both ran the story as well. I think it’s newsworthy. I’m also glad that they didn’t shy away from covering a story that involves national security. I don’t think a newspaper should ever shy away from writing about a story because of it’s pertinence to national security. News organizations should be dedicated to just that – the news – not the state.

    I think that in other instances, such as Valerie Plame, the release of the WikiLeaks cables and the Pentagon Papers, information about the detention of foreign prisoners at secret prisons, and criminal actions performed by the military and caught on tape, arguments for in defense of national security over freedom of the press are widely made. In instances like this, what I said earlier still stands: the press owes no allegiance to the state, only to the truth. When the truth conflicts with the powers that be I see this not as a deterrant to the publication of those truths but as a way of bringing to light and to conversation other problematic aspects of the society we live in. I think that is the function of the truth, and of journalism.

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