Who is this mysterious person who goes by the name of Abu Sharati and keeps cropping up in media reports about Darfur? Why do prominent journalists like the New York Times' Lydia Polgreen, AP's Sarah El Deeb, and Reuters' Andrew Heavens quote Abu Sharati without providing details about who he is and why he's qualified to speak on behalf of 2.7 displaced Darfuris (or at the very least providing a disclaimer noting that they were consciously protecting his identity)?
In a series of blog posts this week, Wronging Rights' Amanda Taub examines these questions, revealing many weeks' worth of research about a key source that most of us reading the same articles accepted at face value. Her revelations are illuminating, even, apparently, to the journalists she targets.
And finally, after concluding that Abu Sharati must not be what he seemed (a real person empowered by Darfuris to speak on their behalf), Amanda asks:
Is it a big deal if a few journalists messed up, and accidentally published quotes from a mythical character, presenting them as if they represent a unified refugee position on the stories in question?[view whole blog post ]