Anti-Israel Programmer Suspended by Montreal Campus Radio (April 20, 2010)

April 20, 2010


Anti-Israel Programmer Suspended by Montreal Campus Radio
April 20, 2010
Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,


In a March 26 communiqué, we informed HonestReporting Canada subscribers that a Montreal campus radio station, CKUT Radio, had formally reprimanded one of its programs for lending credence to baseless claimsof Israeli culpability in the notorious 2004 Iraqi prisoner abuse atrocities at Abu Ghraib.


Thanks to the tremendous response of HonestReporting Canada members who complained en masse to CKUT following our original January 26 alert, the anti-Israel radio program “Under the Olive Tree (UOT)” based at McGill University in Montreal, was given a warning letterby CKUT’s Programming Committee and was forced to issue an on-air clarification to formally retract these unsubstantiated claims.


Yet despite CKUT’s findings and directives that UOT properly set the record straight, instead, the program issued what could have been one of the most disingenuous and obfuscating “clarifications” that we’ve ever heard.


To listen to the March 25 on-air “clarification” please click here or on the image below.

This so-called “clarification” was problematic in so many ways. To list just a few:

  • At no time did this “clarification” ever actually retract the original baseless claims alleging an Israeli involvement in the Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

  • The host passed the buck to Press TV and used the “clarification” as an advertising opportunity for Iran’s state funded, Holocaust denying propaganda tool. Listeners were encouraged to check out Press TV’s website twice.

  • It disingenuously implied that the feedback they had received had been positive, whereas we know that hundreds of complaints were sent by HRC members strongly condemning this anti-Israel report.

Thanks to the continued vigilance of many HRC members who contacted CKUT again to express their continued dissatisfaction with this anti-Israel program for airing this disingenuous clarification, CKUT’s Programming Committee has served Under the Olive Tree host Tariq Jeeroburkhan with an official notice informing him of his suspension for a term of two months beginning the week of April 12 and ending the week of June 7, for his “failure to follow through on the Programming Committee’s directive to read a scripted text of a clarification on the March 25, 2010 edition of Under the Olive Tree.

According to the official letter sent to Mr. Jeeroburkhan by CKUT on April 9, 2010, which was then forwarded yesterday to HRC members who had complained to CKUT, Mr. Jeeroburkhan will not be permitted to host, tech, or prepare programming for any programs on CKUT during this period. It also means you will not have access to CKUT studios or equipment until the end of the suspension period.

CKUT also commendably prompted the show to air the correct on-air clarification twice on the April 1 edition of “Under the Olive Tree,” as the show’s programmers had failed to read “the text, approved by both CKUT’s Programming Committee and Board of Directors” that was mandated for the specific retraction and had “opted instead to provide an unapproved explanation of the comments in question.”

The correct on-air clarification stated the following unequivocally:

“On the January 21 edition of Under the Olive Tree, a report was read regarding Israeli involvement in Abu Ghraib prison. As part of its ongoing commitment to provide fair and accurate reporting, CKUT would like to take this opportunity to make two clarifications about the report. First, the report was originally published on the website of Press TV, an Iranian broadcaster. This source was not cited during the January 21 broadcast as it should have been. Secondly, CKUT is unable to verify the following statement that was made on January 21: “…the US Colonel Janis Karpinski, the former American military Chief of the Prison, actually are coming out now and saying the Israeli involvement in Abu Ghraib was one of the reasons why the torture and sexual abuse by US soldiers and interrogators has run as rampant as it has and has been such a problem as it was.” Again, CKUT is unable to verify the accuracy of this statement and, as such, retracts it.

To listen to the on-air clarification please click here or on the image below.

As noted in our previous communique, “what’s important to take into consideration is that this show now has a documented anti-Israel track record with its host station.” Not only did this program air seriously libelous material against Israel, it also disobeyed the express written directives given by its host station. Furthermore, CKUT is also conducting another investigation of this program at HRC’s behest, after we brought our concerns to the Programming Committee’s attention regarding erroneous information reported on the April 8 broadcast of “Under the Olive Tree.”

A news segment aired on UOT produced by the anti-Israel “news” network called the International Middle East Media Centre (IMEMC), had erroneously reported that Israeli “troops opened fire at civilians killing 15-year-old Muhammad al-Faramawi…

To listen to this report online please click here or on the image below.

Contrary to this report, Mr. al-Faramawi was never killed and still lives to this very day. Dubbed by our colleagues at as the Return of the Living Dead,” in reality and as this report from the Ottawa Citizen confirms: “A Palestinian teenager who went missing near the Gaza border last week and was believed to have been killed by Israeli troops has returned home safe after being detained in Egypt, he said on Sunday. Mohammed al-Faramawi, 15, said he had gone with some friends to Gaza’s defunct airport near the borders with Israel and Egypt last Monday “for fun” when they found a smuggling tunnel to Egypt and crawled through it. They were promptly arrested by Egyptian security forces on the other side and held for several days. On Tuesday, the day after he disappeared, Palestinian medics and media reported he had been shot dead by Israeli forces near the border.”

As UOT hosts proclaimed in the beginning of this broadcast that they “…produce content that accurately represents the community,” we felt it was incumbent upon CKUT’s Programming Committee to once again prompt this program to issue what we hope will be an unambiguous correction to properly and unequivocally set the record straight on this matter. We will continue to keep you updated on CKUT’s findings.

We thank all HRC subscribers for their continued support and we thank CKUT Radio, its Programming Committee, and Board of Directors for taking the appropriate disciplinary action by suspending UOT programmer Tariq Jeeroburkhan.

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