We had a hunch Al Jazeera would decide not to air the video footage it received from Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah, and on Tuesday the network tersely confirmed that while an official source told the AP that the video came from an accomplice, not Merah himself.
The source of the video has been more of an open question than the content of the video, which everyone knows is awful. Al Jazeera received the flash drive with the footage on Monday, after Merah died in a standoff with police last week. It had been unclear whether Merah himself sent it, or an accomplice did, but on Tuesday the Associated Press reported that an official "said that technical experts have concluded that the video was sent on Wednesday from near southern Toulouse, the same day that Merah was trapped in his apartment by the predawn police raid." The drive came with an "unsigned letter in all capital letters written in 'sometimes bad French' and purporting to be from Al Qaeda," Al Jazeera bureau chief Tarrouche Zied told The New York Times. Authorities haven't said who they think the accomplice is, but Merah's brother was charged with complicity in the case on Sunday.
As for its decision not to air the footage, Al Jazeera said the video didn't add anything to the story and that it didn't stand up to the network's own code of ethics. French prosecutors had said they wouldn't prevent the network from showing the video, The Times reported, but French President Nicolas Sarkozy had implored the network not to do so. According to the AP, "Al-Jazeera said it had received many requests by media to look at the video, but that it would deny all of them."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.