Published 21/5/08 : France 2 looses libel case against Philippe Karsenty, who claimed channel's 2000 story on death of Palestinian boy who became icon of Intifada was 'pure fiction'.
A Paris appeals court ruled in favor of a self-styled media watchdog accused of libel for claiming that French footage of the shooting death of a Palestinian boy was faked, his lawyer said.
In acquitting Philippe Karsenty, the court ruled that he had acted in good faith and ''exercised his free criticism against a power, that of the press,'' said his attorney, Patrick Maisonneuve.
The court confirmed the acquittal but said it would not explain its ruling before Thursday.
France 2 network's images from Sept. 30, 2000, showed the death of Mohammed al-Dura, cowering terrified with his father amid furious gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
On his Web site Media-Ratings, which casts a critical eye on the reliability of French mainstream media, Karsenty had claimed that the report was ''pure fiction.''
The public broadcaster and its Israel correspondent, Charles Enderlin, filed a libel suit against Karsenty, and a Paris judge ruled in their favor in 2006. Karsenty appealed.
France 2 said Wednesday it would challenge the latest ruling.
In the network's report, the father gestured frantically to try to stop the shooting as the boy screamed in
terror. It then cut to a shot of the motionless boy slumped in his father's lap. The report asserted the gunfire came from nearby Israeli positions but the circumstances remain in dispute. several independent investigations have determined Enderlin's claim may have been erroneous.
The IDF, after completing a full military investigation into the incident, said it was ''quite plausible that the boy was hit by Palestinian bullets in the course of an exchange of fire.''
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