Does the Gulf Daily News Plagiarize?

On Tuesday, I read a sad story about a rather unpleasant work environment among the Navy’s working dog unit in Bahrain in 2005-2006. This eventually led to the expulsion of a Sailor under the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. (The story was significant enough for me to mention it on Twitter.)

I was therefore surprised to read almost the same story in Thursday’s issue of the Gulf Daily News, a major English newspaper here in Bahrain. I was not surprised that GDN is publishing news that mentions Bahrain, but that they took an Associated Press story and published it using their own byline. I’m not completely sure about the rules of journalistic plagiarism but I think that changing word order and occasional word choice is not sufficient differentiation to publish without citing the source.

Original AP story

GDN story

Example:

AP: But within a month of his arrival in Bahrain in 2005 to join the handlers and their dogs in seeking out hidden explosives, Rocha said he found an abusive atmosphere in which he was hazed repeatedly, even though he never spoke of his sexual orientation.

“What made my rite of passage different is that I refused to have sex with prostitutes,” Rocha said. “In doing so, I gave them reason enough for them to think I was gay and they took it upon themselves to punish me for it for two years.”

GDN: However, within a month of his arrival in Bahrain in 2005, he claimed that he found an abusive atmosphere in which he was repeatedly bullied, even though he had never actually spoken of his sexual orientation.

“What made my rite of passage different is that I refused to have sex with prostitutes,” said Mr Rocha. “In doing so, I gave them enough reason to think I was gay and they took it upon themselves to punish me for it for two years.”

Upon careful inspection, I did find the following “unique research.”:

GDN: A Naval Support Activity Bahrain spokesman yesterday told the GDN that officials were aware of the situation and the case was under review.

“All we’d like to add is that these incidents do not reflect who we are as a navy,” he said.

Everything else was sourced from the AP article. At a minimum, I believe the article should have a line like “AP contributed to this report” as in this Jerusalem Post article. Now that the article has been published, GDN needs to re-look at how it handles bylines and sourcing to prevent these types of incidents in the future.

A US CONGRESSMAN has intervened in the case of a homosexual sailor allegedly abused for two years by fellow servicemen while serving in Bahrain.

Joseph Rocha, 23, left the navy in 2007 after telling his commander he was gay, in violation of the US Navy’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.

He subsequently claimed to have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from the constant bullying he reportedly received while serving at the Naval Base in Juffair, where he worked as a military dog handler.

Following an internal navy investigation, which found dozens of examples of “hazing” and sexual harassment against many sailors between 2005 and 2006, Democratic Representative Joe Sestak has requested further information on the probe’s findings, according to media reports.

A copy of the probe has already been released under the Freedom of Information Act, but the investigator’s recommendations were subsequently blocked out.

“Without a question, it heightens and makes more salient this issue,” said Congressman Sestak, who previously served as an Admiral in the US Navy.

In a letter to Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus, Congressman Sestak also demanded an explanation as to why the head of the military working dog unit at the time Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint had been promoted to senior chief.

Posted in Bahrain

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