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France: journalists suspended after ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations

March 16, 2023 at 12:34 pm

French President Emmanuel Macron [Ümit Dönmez – Anadolu Agency]

The Arabic edition of state-owned television channel France 24 has suspended four journalists over allegations of anti-Semitism. “As a precautionary measure, and as this type of procedure requires, the four journalists concerned were exempted from work pending the results of an internal audit,” said France 24 on Tuesday

The move follows the publication of an article by CAMERA, a pro-Israel media watchdog in which it is claimed that the journalists have used anti-Semitic rhetoric on their personal social media accounts.

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One of the journalists is Joelle Maroun, who was suspended over several tweets in 2013 and 2014. Maroun has been the Beirut correspondent of France 24 since 2021. CAMERA accused her of joking about Hitler’s actions against Jews and posted a screenshot of a tweet to support the claim. The pro-Israel group also posted an alleged screenshot of Maroun’s asking Hitler to rise up as there were some people who needed to be burnt.

The monitoring group also claimed that veteran France 24 Jerusalem correspondent Laila Odeh and Dina Abi-Saab, a correspondent in Geneva, described Palestinians killed while resisting the Israeli occupation as “martyrs.” Dina Abi-Saab also likened the 9/11 attacks in the US to bombing by Israel of buildings in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Sharif Bibi, who has worked for the French channel since 2014, was accused by CAMERA of calling on his Twitter account for the state of Israel to be uprooted.

“The code of ethics of France Médias Monde (France 24, RFI, MCD) stipulates that its journalists, when publishing on blogs, forums, social networks and any space dedicated to the public exchange of information, must ensure ‘respect for professional and ethical rules (…) and not violate the values of ethics, independence, and impartiality of the company.’”

The company added that, “The measures taken in this situation aim to protect the integrity of the work of the entire Arabic-language editorial staff of France 24. As in all of France 24’s language output, the Arabic-language channel distinguishes itself every day by its commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination.”

READ: France24 fires journalist over pro-Palestine stance