“Shameful”: PA criticized for sacking journalist amid dispute in Palestine | News on press freedom
American journalist targeted by right-wing groups for her pro-Palestinian activism at university condemned her recent dismissal by the Associated Press news agency, saying she was “a victim of the asymmetric application of the rules of objectivity and social media ”.
In a statement shared on Twitter on Saturday, Emily Wilder said her PA officials told her she violated the news agency’s social media policy when she was fired this week, but that they did not say which tweets violated this policy. , or how.
Her dismissal on Wednesday came after right-wing groups at her alma mater, Stanford University, launched what Wilder described as a “smear campaign” against her for her student activism defending Palestinian rights.
It also took place during Israel’s 11-day military offensive on the Gaza Strip, which killed nearly 250 Palestinians and injured more than 1,900 others. Twelve people were also killed in Israel by rockets fired from the Palestinian coastal territory.
“I am a victim of the asymmetric application of the rules of objectivity and social media that have censored so many journalists – especially Palestinian journalists and other journalists of color – before me,” Wilder said in his statement.
My statement on my dismissal from The Associated Press. pic.twitter.com/kf4NCkDJXx
– Emily Wilder (@ vv1lder) May 22, 2021
A Twitter message released Monday by Republicans at Stanford criticized Wilder, who is Jewish, as an “anti-Israel agitator” on campus.
The Washington Free Beacon then ran an article titled “AP Hires Anti-Israel Activist as News Associate.” The objectivity of the PA in question amid the revelations, it has shared offices with Hamas ”. This story has been picked up on other forums, including the Fox News website.
A few days earlier, Israel shelled a building in Gaza that housed the PA office, as well as Al Jazeera’s offices and several residential apartments.
The Israeli government said the al-Jalaa tower “contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the terrorist organization Hamas” – a claim that was rejected by media organizations, which demanded an independent investigation.
AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton did not say on Friday what Wilder – who began working as an AP press associate on May 3 in Phoenix, Ariz. – wrote that violated the policies of the social media business, the news agency reported.
“We have this policy so that one person’s comments cannot create unsafe conditions for our reporters covering the story,” Easton said.
“Every AP reporter is responsible for safeguarding our ability to report on this conflict, or any other, with fairness and credibility, and cannot take sides in public forums.”
A clear message sent by the AP to budding journalists passionate about creating a better and fairer world: there is no room for you in our press room https://t.co/as0yNvmFrM
– Wesley (@WesleyLowery) May 22, 2021
But reporters and others criticized AP for rejecting Wilder, saying the move reflected an unfair double standard as to who is considered “partisan” in its reporting on Israel-Palestine.
Since Israel launched its attacks on Gaza on May 10, there has been growing criticism of the way the media, especially in the United States, covers the conflict.
“It is shameful and the journalism organizations that exist to demand accountability and transparency from others must meet the same standards,” US investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones tweeted Saturday of Wilder’s sacking.
“This is a pretty blatant case of selective enforcement,” said Khaled Elgindy, program director for Palestine and Israeli-Palestinian affairs at the Middle East Institute think tank.
“There is a toll to come in American journalism. Good. It is high time to rethink a notion of ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’ that has always favored the status quo and all those who benefit from it, ”also said former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian. Castro. tweeted.
Reporting on the Israeli bombing of Gaza shouldn’t be difficult, but for the American media it is a verbal gymnastics game. @sanasaeed gives his critique of how the US media fail to cover the Israeli occupation. pic.twitter.com/eyC22gjrm5
– AJ + (@ajplus) May 21, 2021
In his statement, Wilder asked what message his withdrawal sends to other young people looking to get into journalism.
“I have to ask what kind of message this sends to young people who hope to channel a righteous indignation or a passion for justice into a hard-hitting narrative,” she wrote.
“What future promises budding journalists that an institution like the Associated Press sacrifices those with the least power to the cruel trail of a group of anonymous bullies?” What does it mean to this industry that even sharing the painful experiences of Palestinians or questioning the language we use to describe them can be viewed as hopelessly “biased”? “