Americas, Middle East

Canadian journalist fired over pro-Palestine posts speaks out

Zahraa Al-Akhrass challenges Western media's stance, calls for freedom to advocate for Palestine

Sule Ozkan  | 08.11.2023 - Update : 12.11.2023
Canadian journalist fired over pro-Palestine posts speaks out


Zahraa Al-Akhrass, 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, challenging Western media’s stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"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," she told Anadolu.

Al-Akhrass evaluated her dismissal process 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 she was fired from Global News on Oct. 17 for her social media posts expressing support for the Palestinian people.

"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.

"Global News 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 said.

Al-Akhrass highlighted 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,” she said.

She noted that she is not the first Palestinian to be fired for supporting Palestine in recent events and will not be the last.

'Israel labels everyone who opposes its occupation and crimes as terrorists'

Al-Akhrass pointed out 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."

She said Israel labels anyone who stands with Palestine and opposes the Israeli occupation and crimes as "terrorists" and those sympathetic to "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," she said.

'I can be opposed to occupation of Ukraine, but I cannot speak about Israeli occupation’

Al-Akhrass said she had previously made posts expressing her political views and stance on global events.

"I freely 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 organizations claimed that I threatened the principles they adopted. So I can say I opposed the occupation of Ukraine, but I cannot speak about the Israeli occupation," she said.

Al-Akhrass said she was asked to come to the office for an investigation of her social media posts while on maternity leave.

"I asked a few questions to the employee who wanted me to come to the office and sent a photo of a child who died as a result of the Israeli bombing of Gaza. I said that this photo represented the attack on Gaza and the 75-year-long 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 psychology by sending a photo against her wishes and filed a complaint against me."

She said she has filed a lawsuit against Global News for being unfairly fired and added that she cannot be dismissed while on maternity leave in violation of the law.

*Writing by Alperen Aktas

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