ألسلام عليكم ورحمة ألله وبركاته
NEWS AND CALUMNY
A “little group” of adult Muslims have been arrested, in non-Muslim country, by policemen for a rob—around 10000$. Only one of them have been imprisoned.
Online Publishers have reported the story, and have published photos and videos of that person with ALL the bank notes retrieved, as proof.
Now, according to one relative of the prisoner, the latter was only a partner in crime. Moreover, always according to this relative, the prisoner have said that he was only in possession of one part of the cash. But news state that he was in possession of all the cash.
So, the relative concludes that these news are calumnies, and his friends have betrayed the now prisoner.
• Are news considered as calumny, when there are “some mistakes” reported?
Now, I have been asked to alter Search engine result effectively, by using Negative SEO, to hide the news where the prisoner appears.
It will consist, among other tasks to:
• use Negative SEO against all news websites pages hosting these news:
◦ harm as much as possible the news websites, to downgrade their rank in SERP—Search Engine Result Page—, usually, it will penalize the whole websites:
link these websites from dangerous websites—hosting virus, rootkit, etc…
link these websites from link farm;
◦ false news;
◦ falsified version of that news;
◦ false profiles;
◦ false blogs…
But I refuse, as it is obviously haram to do so. But the relative insist that it is halal.
• Can I hurt all these news websites, only for one information that is considered by relatives to be not entirely true?
جزاكم ألله خيرا
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
There is no doubt that many media outlets do at times report incidents which are not entirely correct. We find many news agencies which do try to exploit negative news about Islam and Muslims. However, we cannot comment on this particular incident, since we have not studied the authenticity of what was reported.
If a formal court hearing took place, and the accused was arrested after a thorough investigation, then it will not be permissible for you to cause any harms to the news outlets. As long as theses news houses are reporting facts, one cannot tarnish their websites. At most, you may just try to hide the story as much as possible, with the intention of protecting the honour of your Muslim brother.
If the news are reporting exactly what happened, then this is not calumny on their part. Is it the news agencies that are intentionally reporting ‘mistakes’, or was it the mistake of those who arrested this brother?
If you do have concrete evidences that the news agencies are distorting this story, and they are not presenting the facts, then you may first write to them and try to inform them of the accurate version, with all your evidences. If they still do not edit the story, then you may take the necessary action which you have explained in your question.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
This answer was collected from Fatwaa.com which is an excellent Q&A site managed by Mufti Ismail Moosa from South Africa. .