Unnamed and shamed

If any journalist was unconvinced of the difficulties presented by
the use of unnamed sources, they need look no further than the furore
engulfing Newsweek.

The US magazine reported the assertion of a
nameless government official that copies of the Koran had been
desecrated at Guantanamo Bay. The riots that followed when the story
was picked up in the Islamic press have left 15 people dead.

Newsweek
has since retracted the story, but still faces the suggestion that it
only did so after government pressure. Its unnamed source cannot help
the magazine now.

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