Guardian misleads on profile of pro-Palestinian lawyer

This is a cross-post from Just Journalism
The Guardian’s reporting of the Tzipi Livni arrest warrant story fell short of journalistic standards yesterday when it failed to properly identify prominent pro-Palestinian lawyer Daniel Machover, who was quoted condemning the UK government for its response to the issuing of the warrant.
Machover is Chair of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights and a partner at London law firm Hickman and Rose, which in 2005 successfully represented Palestinians seeking an arrest warrant in the UK against Israeli Major General Doron Almog over house demolitions in Gaza.
Only Wednesday he authored an article published on The Guardian’s Comment is free website in which he claimed that Gordon Brown and David Miliband’s diplomatic intervention in favour of Livni ‘sends a message that Britain is in fact a safe haven for suspected torturers and war criminals’.
Despite his past and current active involvement in this issue, in ‘Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on issuing of war crimes warrants’ by Guardian Legal Affairs Correspondent Afua Hirsch and Middle East Editor Ian Black, he is described simply as ‘a solicitor’. The article reads:
“I feel honest revulsion at the idea of a case where a judge has granted an arrest warrant and a politician gets on the phone and apologises,” said Daniel Machover, a solicitor. “They have got to stay out of individual cases and legal decisions…
“It’s outrageous and the only reason the Foreign Office wants to do it is to avoid embarrassment – there is no good legal reason,” said Machover. “If there was an arrest warrant against Livni, it’s because there was a case to answer according to a judge who found that there was reasonable suspicion.”
This failure to identify sufficiently the contributor deprives Guardian readers and website users of the necessary information with which to contexualise his comments. They will have been misled by today’s description of Daniel Machover as ‘a solicitor’ because this implied falsely that he was being cited as an objective legal voice, rather than the extremely active pro-Palestinian legal advocate that he is.
Just Journalism’s August roundtable, which convened journalists and legal experts to discuss how international law is reported in the UK, addressed this very issue. Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion Douglas Murray discerned a ‘halo effect’ enjoyed by legal activists who are identified in the media simply as lawyers when they are, in fact, ‘more than lawyers’.
Just Journalism has contacted The Guardian on this issue and is awaiting a response. However, the online version of the article remains unchanged and no correction has been published.

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