Al Jazeera Media Network has demanded that Reuters retract a news report that attributes a misquote of the Qatari foreign minister to Al Jazeera.
The report, published on Saturday, quoted the Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, as saying that Iran was willing to “compromise” in negotiations with the United States to restore its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
However, the foreign minister had actually said that Iran had informed Qatar that the revival of the nuclear deal was “under review”.
The initial misquote was the result of an error from the German newspaper Handelsblatt, who the initial interview was given to, which was then picked up by Qatari and international news outlets, including Al Jazeera.
However, Reuters attributed the initial story to Al Jazeera, and has refused to correct that.
“The Reuters agency insisted on attributing the original story to Al Jazeera, claiming that the channel had caught and corrected a translation error, something that has no basis in fact,” the Al Jazeera statement said. “The correction was issued by the original source for the news.”
The Iranian foreign ministry rejected the reports and said that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had made no mention of compromise to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, during a meeting in Tehran earlier in May.
“It is very clear from the context of the leader’s remarks that the ball is in the US court, which must make wise political decisions to fulfil its obligations,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said on Saturday.
Statement in full:
Al Jazeera demands that Reuters correct professional errors
Al Jazeera Media Network has demanded that the Reuters news agency retract and correct editorial errors made in attributing to Al Jazeera the most recent statements by the foreign minister of Qatar regarding the Iranian nuclear file.
Al Jazeera said in a letter to Reuters that its regional office in Dubai attributed the original news and its subsequent correction to Al Jazeera, even though a German newspaper was the original source for the news item.
That news item was then carried by the Qatar News Agency, the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other media outlets, including Al Jazeera.
However, the Reuters agency insisted on attributing the original story to Al Jazeera, claiming that the channel had caught and corrected a translation error, something that has no basis in fact. The correction was issued by the original source for the news.
In its letter to Reuters, Al Jazeera called for accuracy and professionalism and that the agency correct the matter immediately.
An official source at Al Jazeera said the Reuters regional office in Dubai had deliberately maintained the attribution and had not corrected it, which flies in the face of professional ethics. He added that the agency should have reviewed and scrutinised the work of its office in Dubai and monitored its performance, which should not be subject to any non-professional considerations.