Friday, 18 November 2011

#ShameonReuters - A success story

A truly success story and if you’ve been following the story you’ll know why. But I’ll briefly go through it anyway.

On 12/11/11 I wrote this blog post: Reuters can no longer betrusted

It started by Hind Hussein know as Dory_Eryani in twitter, talking about Mohammad Suddam who worked for Ali Abdullah Saleh as a personal Translator and secretary who also worked for one of the popular media sources. Reuters. I questioned how, since when and why haven’t people spoke about this? I had no clue. People then started to send in evidence, letting us know that he has been working for Saleh for many years. It was a shock to me and many out there not only because I am Yemeni or that I am totally against anyone spreading wrong reports about Yemen’s revolution. But my expressions would be exactly the same even if it happened way before the Revolution. It is just totally wrong and unacceptable for a Reporter who works for Reuters to also work for a government. No matter what country it is.

I wrote the blog post to expose this Reporter and went far to blame Reuters for the lack of knowledge the west have about what goes in Yemen daily since the Revolution. What I used to trust was spreading wrong information about what exactly happens in Yemen. Like when the time they reported that Ali Abdullah Saleh was to step down even though he never said anything (many times this was reported) or when on really bloody days in Yemen which Reuters calls ‘clashes’ while really they weren’t! On days like that, many people were murdered by Saleh’s forces. Reuters of course didn’t show the exact story making it seem it’s not so serious or to worry about.

We were surprised and we weren’t going to let it go without any notice. After the blog post I made, Hind Hussein blogs about it in Arabic: Reuters Scandal رويترز في جيب الحكومة which reached a lot of views and grabbed a lot of attention from the Arab-speaking audience.

The very next thing happened was that Marwan Al Muraisy, another Yemeni activist came up with the hash-tag #ShameOnReuters. Since the day it was born it immediately started attracting attention.
Later that day there was a Facebook page to Shame On Reuters created by Taha Abdoh After that NoonArabia summed it all up in this blog post for globalvoices Yemen Netcitizens Accuse Reuters of Biased Reporting.

That was the start and from there this was grabbing so much attention from people and media organisations like Frane24 which were the first ones to report the story, showing some tweets people have tweeted about the issue, including the Journalist-blogger Dima AlKhateeb and the commentator on Arab affairs Sultan AlQassem.

France24 contacted Reuters and Reuters reply was:
"For over 160 years Reuters' coverage in the Middle East has been a trustworthy sources of news. We consider the work of stringer Mohamad Sudam up to the high standards by which we abide around the world"
This angered and disappointed a lot of Yemenis at Reuters reply. Yemenis started discussing what they can do; they only wanted Reuters to apologize to the Yemeni people. They didn’t stop, they continued to tweet and tweet under the hash-tag #ShameonReuters

Frane24Arabic also interviewed Hind Hussein:

Brian Withaker also blogged about it raising more and more attention.

All the way from Twitter to the NYT ...and others reported it.

From there until today 18/11/11, where I received mentions on twitter, thanking me and others for the effort we put into this issue. I had no clue why they were thanking us after Reuters reply to France. I asked and the reply was:
Apparently Reuters won’t use that journalist. He’s been fired.
I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe the amount of attention this has brought. We only wanted an apology but we got more than that. 

Reuters released a statement which was:
“Sudam’s work as a Reuters stringer over the course of many years has been fair and accurate. When he became a translator for the president, he disclosed his role to Reuters. On reviewing the matter, however, we believe it’s not appropriate to use a stringer who is also working for the government. He is no longer reporting for us from Yemen.”
I wished Ali Abdullah Saleh and Bashar alAssad would learn from Reuters. I wished they would learn that the Power will always be for the people.

This was a successful story by many Yemenis and non-Yemenis. It was a team work story, we all worked together. If it wasn’t for those tweeting and posting a comment on Facebook about it or for those writing to Reuters, this wouldn’t have gotten so much attention. I truly thank everyone who was part of this success story.

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