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12 Aug 2023

NextImg:French State Broadcaster Fires Second Journalist for Antisemitic Tweets

Revelations about the social media usage of journalists from French state media outlet France 24 has seen a second figure pushed out for his antisemitic tweets.

France 24 fired their Beirut correspondent Joelle Maroun in March after revelations of extremist social media posts by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), and now a second journalist Dina Abi-Saab has also been fired.

CAMERA say after their exposé revealing posts by France24 journalists expressing “support for terrorism and antisemitism in their Arabic social media accounts”, three members of staff — Laila Odeh, Sharif Bibi, and Dina Abi-Saab — were required to sign an ethics charter.

The document contains a promise to reject “any incitement to crime, violence, hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia”, the campaign group stated.

It is reported Odeh and Bibi signed, but Abi-Saab refused, leading to her ouster at the state media firm. Israel’s i24 reports Abi-Saab is a Lebanese heritage journalist who was France 24’s Geneva correspondent and who reportedly blamed Jewish people for the Israeli-Palistinean conflict and praised a terrorist online.

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Much of the content highlighted by CAMERA showed a certain preoccupation among the four with Adolf Hitler, with one writing that she wished Hitler was born Lebanese. As noted by the Jerusalem Post, the French government was called out for using taxpayers’ money to fund the salaries of the journalists.

Following the dismissal of the journalists, CAMERA executive director Andrea Levin said: “What we see is that these France 24 Arabic journalists hold intensely passionate antisemitic attitudes and extremist political views that appear deeply rooted.

“Contrary to what France 24’s leadership may think, Odeh’s support for antisemitism and terrorism isn’t normal political ‘activism’ and is unlikely to be dispelled in conventional warnings that she adhere to professional ethical standards.”

“France 24 evidently knows there’s a serious problem to be addressed,” Levin added. “That’s important. Hopefully, the network’s leadership realizes the full implications – that activist antisemites on their Arabic staff will undermine the integrity of the entire enterprise – as antisemitism so often does when it’s not vigorously renounced and removed.”