Thursday, 3 November 2011

Gulf News - See No Evil

Evil redImage via WikipediaGulf News ran an Associated Press story on the front page of its business section today on the report issued by Transparency International on bribery. That report's findings are linked here.

GN tagged the piece, a highly edited version of the AP file (the AP piece is linked here for your listening pleasure), 'The Power of Money'. The piece is not available on the GN website, but does point out that China and Russia are the countries most prone to bribery in TI's report.

What it fails to point out is that the UAE ranks fifth most likely to bribe in the report, which surveyed 3,000 businessmen on how often firms from the various countries they deal with resort to bribery. The report lists 28 countries - the UAE ranking fifth worst (joint fifth, to be fair - we rank alongside Argentina, which is in itself something of an indictment) and Saudi Arabia seventh worst. The rest of the Middle East isn't included in the report, which is probably just as well.

TI's report found that 'no country was found to be wholly clean' and also that the construction sector was most likely to bribe its way into business, with the real estate sector coming in joint second worst. Which may go some of the way to explaining the UAE's ranking. This is, by the way, the first time the UAE has been included in the index.

The question is, did GN just paste up an AP file to fill some space without bothering to check if the UAE featured on the index or did it know and let the fact pass it by? If the former, we're looking at awful, sloppy no news-sense journalism - a half-boiled intern with learning problems would have Googled the index to see if the UAE featured (as I did, being a half-boiled intern). If the latter, GN could arguably justify the omission by claiming it's an AP file and as AP didn't highlight the UAE's position, GN didn't see fit to overrule such a respected international news source. Which is hardly tenable, but is probably preferable to admitting you're a bunch of craven, drooling morons who could no more serve the public interest than play Für Elise on a chocolate banjo.

The National ran the piece front page business, too:"UAE companies debut with 5th place in bribery global survey" as opposed to GN's "China, Russia most prone to bribery."

Spot the difference...

1 comment:

Muscato said...

On the other hand, leave it to The National to find a way to make it sound like appearing on the list is a good thing - "debuts"! Just like a new five-star resort or high-profile product launch...

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