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Thursday, January 31, 2008 

Al Jazeera's plagarism

The brilliant new series A Question of Arab Unity, on Al Jazeera English has stolen large chunks from Wikipedia:



Here are a couple of examples:

ALJAZ
"That night officers seized control of all government buildings, radio stations, police stations, and the army headquarters in Cairo."

WIKIPEDIA
"That day the Free Officers seized control of all government buildings, radio stations, police stations, and the army headquarters in Cairo."

ALJAZ
"Nasser and his fellow officers assured Britain that it would respect British citizens and property in Egypt, limiting the possibility of intervention against the coup. The revolutionaries also bowed to American pressure by allowing the deposed King Farouk and his family to leave Egypt."

WIKIPEDIA
"The newly installed government immediately assured Britain that it would respect British citizens and property in Egypt, greatly diminishing the possibility of intervention against the coup. Nasser and his fellow revolutionaries also bowed to American pressure by allowing the deposed King Farouk and his family to leave Egypt."

Spot the difference? Some nice copy-and-pasting going on in Doha.

You can find some more yourselves. The next episode is going to be broadcast next week. My suggestion - skip it, and type 'Nasser' into Google.

Sassa, may be you are too severe; these are simple facts and there are not many ways of presenting them.

But indeed, if they did copy and paste, they should quote their source.

It may be coincidence if there were more differences. But authors have been done for plagarism on much less than this!

The facts stand for themselves - although there are only a few ways of presenting facts, using the exact same words in the same place in the sentence again and again and again, with no variation throughout the length of the sentence shows one thing - it was copied.

Using Wikipedia is the lowest form of journalism, and they should be ashamed.

Good observation.

Unfortunately, script writers will often lift directly from the internet -- including Wikipedia. It's a mix of lazy reporting and not being able to give an independent take on the region's history.

I did fact-checking for a long while and I would come across blatant plagiarism in some stories. Most of the time, the editors had the smarts to fix it, but in broadcast, the focus is on the images and the script is kind of secondary.

It's also possible that both Al-Jazeera and whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry were near-plagiarizing from some other mutual source.

It could be that the script writer for al jazeera is the one who compiled information for wikipedia.

I checked out both of those possibilities too. The Wikipedia entry was edited too long ago for it to have been done by the Al Jaz script writer. And no, they're not both plagarising from the same source, because the chunk that was used comes from a number of sources.

WOW ...
But how did you spot them ?? :)

I was checking something they said about Nasser - shamelessly, I scanned Wikipedia, and I thought, these words sound familiar!

Great posting, Sasa, thank you.
have a good day

Thanks David, you too.

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  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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