It all started with an innocent tweet
"What a boring weekend...", I thought, while aimlessly surfing the internet yesterday. I had just started getting active on Twitter a couple of weeks back and so was into exploring more about it. Since last week I had started "following" Ameera Al Hakawati, the author of the book Desperate In Dubai, which I had reviewed on this blog earlier this week. She tweeted that her book review was published in one of the leading national newspapers of the UAE, namely Khaleej Times(KT) and I decided to check it out. I started reading the review - and couldn't believe my eyes!! I ran my eyes over it again - and again - but no matter how many times I read it, I still couldn't believe it. What couldn't I believe you ask? The words. They were mine.
Wait a minute! That look familiar!
Was I imagining things? I quickly called my husband and asked him to read both the review on my blog and the one on that newspaper. He did and confirmed my suspicions. The writer had shamelessly lifted half of my review and coolly passed it off as her's! I was so shocked that I immediately replied to Ameera's tweet saying that the review has been copied and she responded saying
Whatever happened to ethics & standards?
I have heard so much about plagiarism but never thought that I would be a victim of it. Much less, to a well-known national newspaper!! What is worse is that the writer is actually an award winning journalist! I just cannot understand why an award-winning and experienced journalist had to indulge in such deplorable practices. I was not asked permission nor was I given credit, at the least I wasn't even notified. I immediately wrote to both the editor as well as the writer, a Ms.Raziqueh Hussain, but unfortunately neither have bothered to respond, nor has the offensive review been changed or taken down. I too am part of the media industry and I know how much I have sacrificed and struggled to be where I am. Apart from being disappointed with the total lack of journalistic ethics, it is also deeply painful to see my work being misused in such a way.
I did not want anyone accusing me of telling tall stories and spreading false claims and so I took screenshots of the original article as well as the sources from which they have been plagiarized from. Note the lines circled in red - those are the lines that have been specifically copied with a few words possibly changed here and there.
The evidence speaks for itself
The plagiarized article: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=diversions&xfile=data/diversions/2012/february/diversions_february8.xml
The copied introduction:
The dates in each of the other sources clearly indicate which of these were published first. As a friend told me, Imitation is the best form of flattery and I thankthe distinguished Ms.Hussain for flattering me and for making me realize my true worth.
I don't think I need say more. I rest my case.
EDITED on 20/02/2012 TO ADD: Good news people! So I finally got a mail from the Editor saying, "...the person in question has been relieved of her services and is no longer with us."
If that is true, then wow! I mean all I expected was them to take down the plagiarized article (which they have done) or give me credit and maybe an apology. Didn't expect someone to lose their job - although I am sure that with her credentials and experience, not to mention the awards, she can easily land a job elsewhere. Anyway so this is how the story ends!
EDITED on 21/02/2012 TO ADD: T
his is becoming one never-ending post! Just wanted to say that today the journalist replied to me saying that she had already quit the newspaper and that the article was published by someone else under her name in a bid to tarnish her image. Now, what does one believe!?