MEMRI is made of this

Leon Collins (Letters, September 7) suggests the Middle East Media Research Institute provides an impartial selection of what is being said and published in Arabic. Many reliable sources would dispute this. A recent Foreign Office memo, leaked to the Observer, stated: “The founding president of Memri is retired Colonel Yigal Carmon, who served for 22 years in Israel’s military intelligence service. Memri is regularly criticised for selective translation.” Using Memri as the source for information on Islamic leaders is like using the Conservative press office as the only source for information on Labour. At the very least, the nature of the source should be made clear. Better, journalists should have their material translated independently.

Ken Livingstone
Mayor of London

Letter in the Guardian, 10 September 2005