May 27, 2008

How significant was the al-dura verdict?

Richard Landes comments on the court's decision in the Karsenty/Enderlin case.

Generally speaking, I think this is a devastating decision. The judges go out of their way to criticize everyone involved on the side of France2 (including some backhanded swipes at the lower court), but especially to point out the pervasive “incohérences” not only in Enderlin’s initial broadcast, but his subsequent explanations and actions. In particular, after emphasizing the sharpness of both Karsenty’s language and his accusations — which indeed are defamatory and strike at Enderlin’s and France2’s honor and reputation — the judges assert that, given the evidence he had every right to make these statements, in particular given the importance of the case, the damage it did worldwide, and the fact that Enderlin, as a professional of information with a high public profile has to expect to be subjected to this kind of criticism from co-citizens and colleagues.

(h/t Daled Amos)

In Context's (in new digs) had a somewhat more limited feeling of vindication.

So the French court has vindicated (for the time being) the right of Karsenty and, presumably, anyone else to bring those facts to light. Nevertheless (and until the written opinion is released tomorrow it's not entirely clear), it sounds as if the court did not base its ruling upon a finding that Karsenty was or likely was telling the truth. Rather, the court appears to have held that Karsenty had the right to voice his opinion, whether it was true or not, because and only because he was able to demonstrate that he had conducted a sufficiently thorough investigation and assembled sufficiently convincing evidence to establish that he thought he had a reasonable basis for making the claims he did.

(In Context was working off a summary of the verdict, not the whole verdict. So it's possible that she'll change her view. She did express what I thought. The seemed less a victory for Karsenty specifically and more for free speech in general. Thus - at least the preliminary summary of - the verdict didn't seem to be the repudiation of Enderlin that I would have like to see.)

UPDATE: In Context e-mailed me that I had based my assessment on her post based on a Jerusalem Post article, when he actually read the summary, she was rather more encouraged.

Crossposted on Yourish.


Posted by SoccerDad at May 27, 2008 6:18 AM | TrackBack
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