Tuesday, September 05, 2006


This it too funny! In the latest issue of Communicate, there's an article about how 3 daily newspapers and an online business news site were duped by a fake press release sent by the Communicate team to "test the theory that local journalists will print just about anything":

Four leading UAE publications published a fake press release about a non-existing company that makes non-melting ice in an effort by Communicate to establish just how gullible local newspapers are when it comes to swallowing corporate propaganda.

Yes, you read that correctly. It said non-melting ice.

One online business newsite and three daily newspapers published the dubious press release verbatim - in the case of the English copy, with our typo included. The takers were AME Info, Al Bayan, Al Khaleej and Gulf Today. Only one newspaper successfully sniffed out the hoax and called us out on it.

I wish I could find a copy of the full article online, because really, it's hilarious. These guys sent the press release to 24 publications, and just waited for calls from journalists. AME Info sent an e-mail asking if a logo could be provided. The answer was no. They still published the release. Al Bayan called to ask how much the company cost. The answer was "sorry, we can't provide any info at this time". They published the Arabic version of the press release the next day.

Which newspaper was the only one to call back and check some facts? Gulf News. And that's when Communicate came clean about the hoax.

Well done Gulf News. And while this really did put a smile on my face, it also made me shake my head in disbelief at the sad, sad state of journalism in this country.


sky said...

Oh my God!
Too funny! Please save that article for me. Would love to hear what the newspapers who fell for it have to say.
AME Info will print just about anything (clearly), but we knew that already.
As for the others...shame.

At least Gulf News saved face. Would have been mortifying otherwise...

Jin said...

Well done for Gulf News...........the poor paper gets slammed for the slightest thing most of the time, but its not SO bad is it? Great concept tho & well done to Communicate for thinking it up!

snow white said...

i read the article - it was good, and shame on the Arabic papers and Gulf Today.

BUT, I didnt think it was necessarily fair treatment of AME Info, which is not an independent editorial news wire, but posts press releases. It makes that very clear on the site... and if AME Info were to start editing the nation's press releases for content and sense, then very little would appear there.

Having said that, if it means a few newspapers sit back and think twice before publishing, then great.

moryarti said...

i read the story yesterday .. classic 3an jad ..

I did enjoy this month's issue of Communicate

BuJ said...

hehe.. i wonder what KT had to say.. where ru SD... where ru sam?

Anonymous said...

Dubai Sunshine (and anyone else), I write for Communicate and if you send me your street address I will send you a copy of the mag and get you on our list. Email me at elizabeth@communicate.vg

Dubai Sunshine said...

Hi Elizabeth....I already get Communicate....but thanks for the offer for anyone else who might want to receive it.