HRC Launches Montreal Office & French Monitoring Unit (April 25 2008)

April 25, 2008



HRC Launches Montreal Office & French Monitoring Unit

April 25, 2008

To view this alert in French please click here

HonestReporting Canada (HRC) is pleased to announce the launch of our Montreal office and expansion of our monitoring efforts to include French-language Canadian media coverage of Israel.

“In expanding our brand to Quebec, we’ve attained national and bilingual status and we’ve brought our grassroots approach to combat anti-Israel media bias in French Canada,” said Mike Fegelman, Executive Director of HonestReporting Canada.

“The French media are typically less restrained in how they describe Israel and this is of a particular concern because they obtain a majority of their content from European news sources which are traditionally more critical of Israel.”

HRC is also pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Agoston as Assistant Director overseeing operations in Montreal. Paul joins HonestReporting Canada with over 10 years of marketing and communications experience. To contact Paul, please email

If you would like to help Israel in the battle for public opinion by monitoring and responding to French-language anti-Israel media bias, please join our French monitoring unit by clicking here.

HRC Complaint: AFP Retracts; Le Journal De Montreal Ignores

On April 7th, French newswire Agence France-Presse reported that a Palestinian child was killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip. Citing unnamed medical sources and witnesses, the report claimed that “Israeli artillery fire” had killed four-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Baher. There was no evidence to support these baseless allegations.

Furthermore, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights concluded that as a result of a “misuse of weapons by armed groups” Baher was killed and his brother was wounded by an errant Palestinian mortar shell directed at Israeli cities and not by IDF tank fire.

Likewise, media reports by the Associated Press (see here and here) and La Presse Canadienne (see here) noted that “It was not immediately clear whether the boy was killed by Israeli forces operating in the area or by Palestinian militants who may have misfired a mortar shell.

The Journal de Montreal, Quebec’s largest circulation daily newspaper, was just one media outlet which reprinted the AFP report (see right) under the following headline: TUÉ PAR LES ISRAÉLIENS or in English “KILLED BY THE ISRAELIS.”

HonestReporting Canada brought our concerns to the attention of AFP editors in Paris and Le Journal de Montreal editors in Quebec. To our satisfaction, AFP promptly investigated the matter and retracted their original report. On April 21, AFP set the record straight by reporting that Baher was killed by “mortar fire from Palestinian militants.”

This report was sent out over the AFP wire and was picked up by numerous media outlets including the French magazine Paris Match, Dow Jones Newswire, La Presna (in Spanish) and as far as the Arabian Peninsula in the Oman Tribune.

But to our dismay and despite AFP’s formal retraction and several attempts by HRC to remedy the situation with Le Journal de Montreal, their editors have elected to ignore our requests to feature this AFP retraction.

How You Can Make a Difference

Ask the Journal de Montreal to retract their April 7th report entitled “TUÉ PAR LES ISRAÉLIENS” and call on the paper to feature AFP’s formal retraction. Send letters (preferably in French or in English) to the Journal’s Information Director, George Kalogerakis at: or call (514) 521-4545 x 4927 to voice your concerns.

Pointers for contacting Le Journal: State your position clearly in your own words, remain rational and polite, and contact us at to tell us you took action. To be considered for publication, letters should include sender’s name and contact information for verification purposes.




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