Author contests 'The Bookseller of Kabul' ruling / News / The Foreigner

Author contests 'The Bookseller of Kabul' ruling. Åsne Seierstad alleges Oslo District Court’s ruling in favor of the second wife of the “Bookseller of Kabul” is not only undermining her reputation, but also poses a threat to the Norwegian press’ freedom of speech. Whilst Suraia Rais claims that the family was not informed about the book project when they welcomed Seierstad in their home, the author is convinced she followed all the ethical journalistic guidelines. “I have acted in good faith, and have done my best to verify the statements and quotations so that they will be as accurate as possible. I have done that by asking questions on different occasions when there was any confusion, by asking someone other than the main characters in the situation,” Seierstad told Dagbladet.

aasne, seierstad, bookseller, kabul, cato, schioetz, per, danielsen, suraia, rais, oslo, district, court, sue, compensation, damages, cappelen, damm



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Author contests 'The Bookseller of Kabul' ruling

Published on Saturday, 31st July, 2010 at 18:11 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau and Michael Sandelson   .

Åsne Seierstad alleges Oslo District Court’s ruling in favor of the second wife of the “Bookseller of Kabul” is not only undermining her reputation, but also poses a threat to the Norwegian press’ freedom of speech.

Cato Schiøtz
Cato Schiøtz
Photo: Margareth/Wikimedia Commons


Journalism ethics

Whilst Suraia Rais claims that the family was not informed about the book project when they welcomed Seierstad in their home, the author is convinced she followed all the ethical journalistic guidelines.

“I have acted in good faith, and have done my best to verify the statements and quotations so that they will be as accurate as possible. I have done that by asking questions on different occasions when there was any confusion, by asking someone other than the main characters in the situation,” Seierstad told Dagbladet.

But the Court’s ruling that the book was a violation to the Rais’ family privacy, ordering both Seierstad and her publisher, Cappelen Damm, to pay 125,000 kroner each in damages, could have serious consequences for documentary journalism.

Six other family members also decided to individually sue the author, according to NTB.

Appeal

One of the reasons why Seierstad says she’s to appeal the decision is the principle of maneuvering information in journalism.

“It's important to win the case so that the sentence should not create a precedent in relation to both journalists and publishers when it comes to freedom of the Norwegian press,” she said in relation to the upcoming retrial.

She is also aware that the outcome will influence her professional life.

“It is [also] important for my reputation as a journalist.”

Cato Schiøtz, the lawyer representing both the author and the publisher, believes the six new trials are obsolete and is confident in the Appeal Court’s ruling.

“I think we have a strong case in the Court of Appeal,” he said.

Referring to Friday’s verdict Per Danielsen, the Rais family’s attorney, assessed that “Seierstad has escaped on some points for which she really should have been convicted,” being certain that the appeal will benefit his client.

“This appeal could end up being an own-goal,” he said.



Published on Saturday, 31st July, 2010 at 18:11 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau and Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: aasne, seierstad, bookseller, kabul, cato, schioetz, per, danielsen, suraia, rais, oslo, district, court, sue, compensation, damages, cappelen, damm.





  
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