Human Lives Human Rights: A report on Tuesday alleged that the dismissal of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) journalist was orchestrated by an Israeli lobby group, revealing a coordinated campaign that involved messaging on WhatsApp.
The termination of award-winning journalist and author Antoinette Lattouf by ABC last month, following her sharing of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Gaza via Instagram, has sparked an in-house protest.
The global rights watchdog’s report highlighted the use of starvation as a ‘weapon of war’ by the Israeli government in Gaza. ABC had also covered the HRW report in a news item.
In response to Lattouf’s dismissal, ABC staff are now threatening to walk out in protest.
“The ABC dismissed broadcaster Antoinette Lattouf after a high-level and coordinated letter-writing campaign from pro-Israel lobbyists that directly targeted the corporation’s chair, Ita Buttrose, and managing director David Anderson,” Daily Sydney Morning Herald found in an investigative report which includes “dozens of leaked messages from a WhatsApp group called Lawyers for Israel.”
Following Antoinette Lattouf’s dismissal from the ABC, an investigative report reveals that the Israeli lobby mounted a sustained effort, repeatedly urging the ABC to fire her and even threatening legal action if their demands were not met.
Lattouf, contesting her termination in court, criticizes it as detrimental to journalism and critical thinking. She is currently crowdfunding for legal support, garnering widespread backing, particularly from those supporting the Palestinian cause.
The ABC denies that managing director David Anderson orchestrated Lattouf’s removal. Instead, the broadcaster claims she was dismissed for disobeying management directives and sharing a controversial social media post from Human Rights Watch.
On Tuesday, around 80 staff members convened at the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney, seeking a meeting with managing director David Anderson.
In the context of Israel’s recent deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has claimed numerous lives, Elaine Pearson, Asia director at HRW, criticized the ABC’s decision to terminate Lattouf. Pearson emphasized that journalists should be encouraged to amplify human rights reporting rather than facing repercussions for doing so.