On Nov. 19 I wrote about Harriet Sherwood’s recent report from the village of Ghajar, mentioning the succinct analysis of her article by ‘Just Journalism’.
Well, it seems that the folks at ‘Just Journalism’ are not the types to let the grass grow under their feet and so they contacted Sherwood in order to get some kind of clarification. So far, no answers from Sherwood or anyone else at the Guardian appear to be forthcoming. You can read all about it here .
Now, all this has had me thinking. As readers know, I was in Ghajar ten days ago when the IDF permitted a limited number of journalists and bloggers to enter the village for a limited amount of time. These events are quite rare; I know of journalists who have tried several times to gain access to Ghajar unsuccessfully. Seeing as the village is situated in a difficult region and the security risks are high, it is not a place into which one can wander at will.
I didn’t see Harriet Sherwood among the couple of dozen or so journalists in Ghajar that day. That, of course, doesn’t mean that she wasn’t there; to be honest, after the initial 15 minute or so meeting with the village spokesman, I preferred to use the remaining allotted time to go off on my own and speak to as many people as possible rather than stay with the herd. But would Sherwood really have waited an entire week to file her report if she had been there that day? And would she have completely disregarded the words of the village council’s spokesman who was not mentioned at all in her article?
Alternatively, was the IDF spokesperson’s unit so generous as to arrange yet another visit for journalists to Ghajar just a week after the previous one, with all the associated hassle of advance security checks, co-ordination with UNIFIL and added security measures involving extra personnel? If so; good on them.
Or does, in fact, “Harriet Sherwood in Ghajar” as written at the head of the article actually mean “Harriet Sherwood at the checkpoint just outside Ghajar, talking to villagers going in and out”? And does that go some way to explaining why her article is illustrated by a picture taken outside the village and why she jumped so rapidly on the ‘Berlin Wall’ theme, having not seen for herself that in fact there exists no such barrier inside the actual village?
Unless Sherwood starts answering her e-mails, I guess we’ll never know.
UPDATE on November 23: While CiF Watch was primarily concerned with the content of Harriet Sherwood’s reporting (her absurd Berlin Wall analogy), rather than the narrower question of whether she was actually reporting from inside Ghajar, we have confirmed, through a reliable source, her presence in city.