According to magyaridok.hu, The New York Times violated its own ethics manual when it published untrue and unverified allegations in connection with Hungary, citing anonymous sources – the internal rules of the American paper revealed. An employee of the newspaper wrote – referring to a Syrian woman – that a Hungarian prison guard severely assaulted her because she rejected him. The Hungarian Prison Service denied this information. They said there could be no immigrant women in the Hungarian prisons, so they could not get into contact with any prison staff.
The Hungarian Consulate-General in New York has formally initiated the newspaper to correct the false allegation of the article. The fact of the failure was also justified by Katrin Bennhold – author of the article – who admitted that she had not verified the veracity of the claim. Thus she violated the ethics manual of the American newspaper.
According to the code the main value of the paper is credibility, and the editorial staff has to do everything to strengthen that. The key objective is to ensure impartiality and neutrality. The code also mentions the necessary distancing in case of anonymous sources. The journalists have to provide the most complete information possible. If they make a mistake, they have to fix it immediately, magyaridok.hu wrote.
Miklos Szantho, head of Fundamental Rights Institute said that Western editorial offices easily ignore their ethical and professional self-regulating standards – recently in the case of Hungary as well – since they are not legally bound by these provisions.
Katrin Bennhold, author of the article clings to her story: she thinks the case happened in “one of the detention centers”. According to her the sister of the victim reported it, who witnessed the crime. The journalist could not tell additional details, like where or when the woman was assaulted. Her excuse for the lack of further information is that “Muslim women are hard to open up”.
Bennhold thinks Syrian women fear to be stigmatized by their families, if these stories become revealed. Bennhold admitted to vs.hu that she cannot verify any of these stories.
Photo: Haxorjoe/Wikimedia Commons
Copy editor: bm