Tuesday, October 8, 2013

False rape reporting in war journalism

"In Libya one of the most influential stories described the mass rape of women in rebel areas by government troops acting on orders from above. A Libyan psychologist claimed to have distributed seventy thousand questionnaires in rebel-controlled areas of which sixty thousand were returned. Some 259 women volunteered that they had been raped; the psychologist said she had interviewed 140 of them. That such precise statistics could have been collected in the anarchy of eastern Libya was implausible, but her story was uncritically repeated, doing much to turn Gaddafi into a pariah. Largely ignored were reports a few weeks later from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a UN commission saying that there was no evidence for the story. It appears to have been a highly successful propaganda ploy."

Read the story here.