Falkland Islands newspaper the Penguin News made up an interview with Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, the Knight Center for Journalism in Americas reported.
The made-up interview was published in the Feb. 8 edition of the paper, which identifies itself as a weekly newspaper and “the Falkland Islands’ only newspaper…with a circulation of 1,500 per week.” According to the Penguin News’ website, it used to be “funded by the Falkland Islands Government,” but it’s now “financially independent.”
The interview was run as ten questions and answers under the headline “Give us two minutes…” An example of the fake Q & A questions included: “4. If you had a motto, what would it be? ‘If you are going to lie, make it a big one.'”
“(Sadly, but not surprisingly, Mr Timerman did not himself supply this column’s content, but following his example, we decided to make it up anyway.)”
As the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, which spotted the fake interview, pointed out, the Q & A “had an ironic, satirical tone.”
As Minuto Uno explained (through a Google translate), the interview was published “shortly after the official refused to hold a meeting” with people from the island. The BBC reported that the meeting was supposed to be in London with Foreign Secretary William Hague but Timerman wouldn’t go because, as the BBC explained, “representatives of the islanders were present.” Hague has claimed Argentina is “bullying” the Falkland Islands.
iMediaEthics has written to the Penguin News’ managing editor Lisa Watson asking:
- Is this Q & A a regular weekly feature? Is it always (except for this case) a real interview?
- Why did the Penguin News decide to make this interview up?
- What sort of reaction has the Penguin News seen to its phony interview?
- Did the Penguin News ask the real foreign minister to be interviewed before deciding to publish the made-up interview? What did he say?
We’ll update with any response.