The Associated Press announced on Tuesday that it would reconsider its social media policies following the wave of criticism it has received for firing Jewish journalist, Emily Wilder, following her support of Palestinian human rights.
The agency said on Twitter that more than 100 of its employees are concerned about the treatment of their former colleague, adding that a committee of volunteers will be formed with the aim of suggesting changes to the agency’s social media guidelines by September.
Last Thursday, the AP fired Wilder, 22, for “violating” its social media rules which compel staff members not to express opinions on controversial issues for fear of damaging the news service’s reputation for objectivity and jeopardising its many reporters around the world.
On Monday, more than 100 Associated Press reporters signed an open letter protesting Wilder’s dismissal after her tweets about past college activism surfaced.
“Journalists demand transparency from the subjects of our reporting and seek to hold the powerful accountable,” the letter stated.
“That’s why we strongly disapprove of the way the AP has handled the firing of Emily Wilder and its days long silence internally. We demand more clarity from the company about why Wilder was fired,” it added.
In 2017, Wilder who worked for Students for Justice in Palestine as a student at Stanford University, helped organise a protest against Birthright Israel, a group that funds trips to Israel for young people of Jewish heritage.
In a Facebook post promoting the protest, Wilder wrote that the event would coincide with a “fundraising gala with far-right, pro-Trump, naked mole rat-looking billionaire Shel Adelson”.
More recently, Wilder criticised media coverage of Israel’s ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah. “‘Objectivity’ feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim,” she wrote on Twitter. “Using ‘israel’ but never ‘palestine,’ or ‘war’ but not ‘siege and occupation’ are political choices — yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased.”
“objectivity” feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim. using “israel” but never “palestine,” or “war” but not “siege and occupation” are political choices—yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased
— emily wilder (@vv1lder) May 16, 2021