60 minutes crew freed from jail, met with ethical backlash

60 minutes crew freed from Lebanese jail and not everyone is pleased about it

After a botched “child recovery” operation in Lebanon, 60 minutes Journalist Tara Brown and her crew have been released from a Beirut jail on a large bail sum posted by Channel 9. Brown and crew are undoubtedly relieved to be going home however, not everyone is pleased.


White entitlement or good intentions? 60 minutes has us wondering what they were thinking after their release from a Beirut jail for child abduction charges

After the incident, an unprecedented level of backlash has ensued, sparking an ethical and legal debate. The underlying question hazing the entire incident remains as to whether or not the 60 minutes crew were within their legal and moral rights to “recover” the children of Sally Faulkner and Ali el-Alamein (the former also being admitted to jail for her part in the operation.) Ali el-Alamein was and remains in custody of the children and chose to drop the charges placed on the crew and his estranged wife after the event.

The crew allegedly employed a professional “child recovery” unit to undertake the operation that involved brazenly snatching the two young children off a Beirut street while being accompanied by their Grandmother. Amid accusations of dealing with professional kidnappers, the crew are also known to have paid Faulkner for her part in the story. These factors easily weigh on the sympathy value of the journalists’ plight, they beg the question: were they just vying for a cash grabbing story or did they genuinely believe they were doing the right thing?

Judging by the criticism the team have already received, their actions were perhaps not properly thought out and possibly a little blind-sighted. Even if their intentions were just, their actions and execution of the operation leave a lot to be desired in the way of explanation.

The situation itself sparks deeper thought on the role of journalism in the pursuit of civil rights and whether or not clear, ethical decisions can be made when money and popularity are at stake. Many have also noted the racial factor that stains the case, it’s fair to state that many in the Western world are led to believe by media outlets just like this, that anywhere outside our known world is a dangerous and impure place. No place for a child.

In truth, the journalists themselves may have even been fooled by the notion that Lebanon and its inhabitants are dangerous based on our current geo-political climate. White entitlement seems to play an ugly role in the operation and perhaps we’re not being told the full story. There’s no doubt that there is more to it than meets the eye and the world is watching and waiting for clarity on the farce, however good intentioned.

Whilst the crew have been cleared to leave Lebanon, the chance that they will be called back to stand trial for child abduction among other accompanying crimes, remains.