Suspension of Lebanese journalist proof of DW's 'free speech' hypocrisy
In an interview with Al Mayadeen English, Daoud Ibrahim explains that DW’s allegations of “anti-Semitism” are based on “false and misleading news.”
“The western standard for freedom of expression is tailored to only restrict us,” said Lebanese journalist Daoud Ibrahim to Al Mayadeen English.
Ibrahim, along with other 4 other journalists, were suspended from their job in the German state media Deutsche Welle (DW) based on false allegations of anti-Semitism.
Pulling the tweets out
Daoud was contacted by a German journalist who asked him about a tweet he wrote 10 years ago regarding the Holocaust. Back then, the Lebanese journalist wrote, “The Holocaust is a lie. #FreedomOfSpeech.”
The tweet was written back in 2012, “and I explained that I wrote this tweet after the publication of abusive and satirical cartoons that were mocking certain beliefs and promoting extremism.”
Daoud explains that at that time, people started to defend such mockery under the pretext of “freedom of expression”.
“What the tweet meant to say was whether an opinion regarding the Holocaust can fall under the same category,” Daoud clarifies.
The journalist defended his stance regarding the matter and said that he did believe that the holocaust did happen, but “I was resolving a certain issue from a certain perspective,” at a certain time.
Despite the clarifications, the German journalist fragmented Daoud’s replies and published the report according to his views and beliefs. “He didn’t include all the clarifications,” the Lebanese journalist added.
Daoud isn’t even a DW employee
DW Akademie, which offers media training for future or specialized journalists, contacted Daoud who is a contract trainer in that academy after the article was published and requested to do an internal hearing session.
“During the session, I defended my case, especially since I am a trainer in the field of conflict-sensitive journalism and ethical journalism, so this topic was highly important to clarify.”
Daoud isn’t contractually obligated to go with DW’s political policy, especially since he is a contract trainer, “I’m not obliged to do anything except for training, I’m not an employee,” Daoud clarifies.
He stated that he’s the only one who is working with the academy, meaning that everyone who got suspended works with the institution itself or the website, “but I am a trainer, and this was something unexpected for me.”
The DW decided to form a commission of inquiry that includes former German Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Palestinian psychiatrist Ahmad Mansour.
Into the hearing session
The committee requested a video call session, and Daoud did accept on condition that he brings his own lawyer and the session be recorded.
“The committee rejected my conditions and wanted to communicate through emails,” adding that he accepted.
They sent in their questions to the Lebanese journalist.
“Most of these questions were regarding the conditions of my work and my job in the academy,” Daoud said.
And then the mood of the questions started to shift as they ask about “my stance regarding 'Israel's' right to exist.”
All of Daoud’s responses were based on “the Lebanese law, the decisions of the Arab League, the right of return, and the right to self-determination.” Noting that the contract with DW indicates to “respect the laws of the countries in which we operate.”
Daoud made sure during the hearing session to clarify that the accusation of anti-Semitism cannot be applied to the Lebanese people because “we are originally Semites.”
In addition to this, he made it clear that examining a 10-year-old tweet without putting it in its context and the circumstances that were going on back then can be considered as “false and misleading news.”
Daoud contacted DW Akademie and was informed that they will most likely stop training sessions with him as per the committee's recommendation.
The Lebanese journalist stated that he had no problem with the people he used to work with; however, he thinks that the main problem is the institution's new policies, and “surely these policies do not represent me if they are taking this direction.”
Deutsche Welle does not want to publish Israeli crimes
DW has long been condemned for its biased reporting on Israeli violations against Palestinians. Media outlets in Germany have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which equates criticism of "Israel" or its behavior to antisemitism.
According to HuMedia, during “Israel’s” deadly aggression on Gaza, DW distributed an internal two-page reporting guide to its journalists, forbidding them to make any connection between “Israel” and colonialism or to use the term apartheid.