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Canadian journalist fired over pro-Palestine posts speaks out

November 8, 2023 at 10:33 am

People gather outside U.S. Consulate General in Toronto during a pro-Palestinian demonstration on October 21, 2023 [Mert Alper Dervış – Anadolu Agency]

A Canadian journalist of Palestinian origin who was recently fired from her job due to her pro-Palestinian social media posts concerning Israel’s attacks on Gaza, remains steadfast and is challenging the Western media stance towards the situation in Palestine-Israel.

“If Western media claims to be impartial, it should allow us to raise our voice without silencing or threatening Palestinians and without demanding our silence in the face of the injustice our people are facing,” Ahraa Al-Akhrass told Anadolu.

Al-Akhrass evaluated her dismissal from Canada-based Global News, where she had been working since February 2020, and the attitude of Western media towards journalists supporting Palestine. She said that she was fired from Global News on 17 October for her social media posts expressing support for the Palestinian people.

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“My employer warned me that my posts on my publicly accessible social media accounts were in violation of the company’s policies. My accounts are entirely personal and have no connection to my position as a Global News employee. The company believes that any electronic footprint can affect its reputation and that it has the right to prevent me from tweeting or publishing something on certain topics.”

She pointed to the lack of empathy for Palestinians in Western media. “My dismissal should be seen within the context of a comprehensive movement aimed at silencing those who support Palestine in Western media,” insisted Al-Akhrass, who noted that she is not the first Palestinian to be fired for supporting Palestine in recent days and will probably not be the last.

The journalist said that Muslims, Arabs and especially Palestinians in Western countries face significant waves of hatred. “Of course, this hatred is entirely due to the West, which is now completely pro-Israel.” Indeed, she added, Israel labels anyone who stands with Palestine and opposes the Israeli occupation and crimes as “terrorists” or sympathetic towards “terrorists”.

“This situation is extremely dangerous. We have seen murders in the United States stemming from hatred towards Palestine. This has reached levels that threaten our security as citizens of these countries.”

Al-Akhrass said that she had posted earlier statements on social media which expressed her political views and stance on global events. “I stated that I opposed the [Russian] occupation of Ukraine, and no one told me that these posts were unbalanced, biased or prejudiced. However, when I expressed my opposition to Israel’s occupation of my homeland, Palestine, suddenly I became ‘biased’, and some Western media organisations claimed that I threatened the principles they adopted. So, I can say that I oppose the occupation of Ukraine, but I cannot speak about the Israeli occupation [of Palestine].”

When asked to go to the company office for an investigation about her social media posts, Al-Akhrass was on maternity leave. She asked a few questions to the employee who spoke to her and sent a photo of a child killed by Israeli bombing in Gaza. “I said that the photo represented the attack on Gaza and the 75-year reality of the Palestinian people. I expected Global News to show respect for the Palestinians who lost their lives and the suffering. Unfortunately, this employee claimed that I damaged her psychologically by sending a photo against her wishes and filed a complaint against me.”

A lawsuit has been filed by Ahraa Al-Akhrass against Global News citing unfair dismissal.

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