The Saudi funded channel reported on its online edition that as part of their curriculum, Iraqi college students will have to study Iran‘s Grand Ayotallah Khomeini’s book “Shazerat min Fiker al-Imam al-Khemani” (Glimpses from Imam Khomeini‘s notion).
Despite the fact that such news should not be a surprise to many readers who are familiar with the attempts of some Iraqi Shia parties to “Iranize” Iraq, the news was still hard to grasp. Here’s why:
* The story is based entirely on a vague statement given by literarily NO ONE. Al Arabyia.net is quoting the “bureau manager of the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education”, yet, it provides no name of that manager. If this was an off the record statement, it should have stated so, and in that case neither the name nor the position should have been revealed.
* Furthermore, this unnamed source, the bureau manager who said Khomani’s book will be part of the curriculum, made the statement to “a satellite television channel” which Al Arabyia.net did not name either !!
* This unnamed source gives no details on when this decision will be implemented. Is it this year, next year or when exactly? we don’t know!
*In the last few lines of the story, Al Arabyia.net quotes a different source, only this time with a full name and position. It said the Spokesman of the Iraqi Ministry of High Education, Qassim Mohammad Jabbar, told Noon news agency that there is no intention for the ministry to include the book in any academic curriculum and that such allegations are mere rumors which Baathists are behind.
So, if we have a clear real official source denying the story why the story headline still reads:
“Glimpses from Imam Khemani’s vision” to be included in Iraq’s academic curriculum
Don’t you also agree that if the “story” was too compelling not to publish, a news source such as Al Arabyia should have at least used the Spokesman’s refutation as a header instead of the one they used below:
Iraqi Ministry of Education says it will print the book to replace Baath party ideology
Was this just a misreporting from Al Arabyia side ! The channel has probably one of the most skillful team of editors and reporters. It is very hard to believe they would make such immature news packaging unless it was intentional.
The channel guideline policy on Iraq’s shia government has been for a long time now unfriendly, reflecting the official views of the Saudi government. The way the story was edited seems to be part of an agenda setting policy and recurrent framing the channel tend to use to highlight Iran’s threat to the region.
In a fair world, this kind of framing, or misreporting, could have hurt the channel reputation as the best available source of news in the Arab world to counter Al-Jazeera. The truth is that despite all the weak elements of the story, it went viral as many readers, specifically young Iraqis, kept exchanging it on different social media platforms. Some did not even bother to finish the story to read the spokesman’s refutation. It was no coincidence that it was placed at the bottom. Even those who did, were still sharing it, perhaps because some see it as an opportunity to further question the Iraqi government‘s intentions which they don’t seem to trust.
I won’t be surprised if the story gained Al Arabyia.net more followers than those it could have lost, especially among the young Iraqi generation who when the story was published, Sept 18, were getting ready to start the new academic year. Schools in Iraq starts officially on the last week of September. There could not have been a better time than the one they chose to run the story.