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.
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.