Debut MENA Content Creator Awards to honor home-grown digital talent

Debut MENA Content Creator Awards to honor home-grown digital talent
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Updated 13 May 2022

Debut MENA Content Creator Awards to honor home-grown digital talent

Debut MENA Content Creator Awards to honor home-grown digital talent
  • ‘This is a $350-million industry and the region has so much talent to be rewarded’
  • Judges for the premier event include Jad Bitar, brand manager at Arab News

DUBAI: The Content Creator Awards kicked off in Dubai on Wednesday with the spotlight focused on the Arab world’s emerging digital talent, influencers and creatives.

“This is a $350-million industry and the region has so much talent. There was just no system to recognize it so we decided to be on the full front of that, award and be rewarded in return,” Tanaz Dizadji, the founder and CEO of Brand Ripplr, told Arab News.

The winners will be announced at a gala event in the emirate next week. Winning categories include male and female content creator, social queen and king content creator, lifestyle trendsetter, and tech guru.

“The GCC market has a high demand for influencers and brands which is why we’ve decided to launch the MENA awards,” one of the panelists said.

The first-of-its-kind event was sponsored by YouTube and backed by Brand Ripplr and Mediaquest.

While the creators did not attend the session on Wednesday, their content was presented to a panel of judges spread across several different rooms, with over 20 categories showcased.

The winners will be chosen according to performance metrics where public votes are factored in. The voting is open for a worldwide audience and has so far racked up millions of responses.

Judges will also base their decisions on what they call the NICE technique: How natural, innovating, creative and entertaining the content is.

Judges include Jad Bitar, brand manager at Arab News, Noor Starz, a YouTube trailblazer, and Hadia Ghaleb, a fashion icon.


Blinken offers support to family of slain Palestinian journalist

Blinken offers support to family of slain Palestinian journalist
Updated 15 May 2022

Blinken offers support to family of slain Palestinian journalist

Blinken offers support to family of slain Palestinian journalist
  • At her funeral on Friday, baton-wielding Israeli police descended upon mourners and grabbed Palestinian flags
  • Blinken offered the support of US diplomats in Jerusalem to the family of Abu Akleh

BERLIN: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Sunday for a “credible” investigation into the death of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as he offered condolences to her family.
Blinken said he spoke with the brother of Shireen Abu Akleh, who was a US citizen, during his flight Saturday to Berlin for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
“I had a chance to express deep condolences for her loss, our deep respect for the work that she did as a journalist for many years,” Blinken told reporters in Berlin.
He said he discussed the “need to have an immediate and a credible investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.”
He said the Al Jazeera journalist was “widely respected around the world.”
Blinken offered the support of US diplomats in Jerusalem to the family of Abu Akleh, who also held US citizenship, a US official said.
Al Jazeera said Israel shot her “in cold blood.” Israel, which has been facing a series of attacks, initially said Palestinian gunmen could be to blame before backtracking and promising to investigate.
At her funeral on Friday, baton-wielding Israeli police descended upon mourners and grabbed Palestinian flags, with the pallbearers struggling not to drop her casket.
Blinken earlier said he was “deeply troubled” by the Israeli police’s actions and the State Department urged a transparent investigation into her killing.


Egypt slams Israeli attack on funeral of Al Jazeera journalist

Egypt slams Israeli attack on funeral of Al Jazeera journalist
Updated 14 May 2022

Egypt slams Israeli attack on funeral of Al Jazeera journalist

Egypt slams Israeli attack on funeral of Al Jazeera journalist
  • Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian, was killed on Wednesday by an Israeli bullet in the face

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “total rejection and strong condemnation of the attacks on the funeral of the late Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli authorities.”

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said: “Such unacceptable … attacks represent a violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the sanctity of the dead.”

The official Palestine News Agency reported that dozens of participants in the funeral procession of the Al Jazeera journalist suffered suffocation, bruises and fractures due to the Israeli police assault on them.

Abu Akleh, a Palestinian, was killed on Wednesday by an Israeli bullet in the face while covering an operation by Israeli forces in Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The UN Security Council condemned her killing, calling for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, fair and impartial investigation,” and stressing the need to ensure accountability.


Palestine-Israel: NYT, BBC and AFP slammed for ‘shamelessly’ inaccurate framing of journalist Abu Akleh funeral clashes

Police forces charged at the crowd carrying the coffin, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons. (AFP)
Police forces charged at the crowd carrying the coffin, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2022

Palestine-Israel: NYT, BBC and AFP slammed for ‘shamelessly’ inaccurate framing of journalist Abu Akleh funeral clashes

Police forces charged at the crowd carrying the coffin, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons. (AFP)

LONDON: Analysts, journalists and more criticized “inaccurate” and “misleading” headlines and tweets published by Western media outlets such as the New York Times, BBC and AFP regarding slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the clashes that ensued at her funeral procession.

Shocking scenes of violence broke out at Abu Akleh’s funeral as Israeli police officers charged at mourners carrying the journalist’s coffin through Jerusalem’s Old City. Police forces charged at the crowd carrying the coffin, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons.

Tear-gas shells and rubber bullets were hurled at chanting mourners in an attempt to stop them from raising Palestinian flags in the old city.

“Shireen Abu Akleh funeral sees clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian mourners in Jerusalem,” read a New York Times headline on Friday, which was criticized for “shamelessly equating the victims with the aggressors,” journalist and commentator Eyad Abu Chakra tweeted.

And the New York Times was not the only publication that was criticized, with the BBC tweeting that “violence broke out” at the slain Al-Jazeera journalist’s funeral as her coffin was “jostled as Israeli police and Palestinians clashed as it left hospital.

“Israeli occupation forces attacked the funeral procession, beat mourners, caused her casket to fall to the ground and the BBC tweets one of the worst obfuscations of Israeli violence yet,” AJ+’s Sana Saeed tweeted.

Bassam Khawaja, co-director of the Human Rights and Privatization Project at NYU’s School of Law, called the tweet “essentially misinformation from the BBC.

“I don’t know how you get from what has been widely acknowledged as a one-sided attack on a funeral procession to ‘violence breaks out.’”

Another tweeter, Kira Davidson, wrote: “Western media has really been telling on itself throughout its coverage of Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder and funeral. To call this anything but violent suppression in support of apartheid is a grave injustice to her memory and her work as a journalist, and a failure in reporting.”

Even Western news media’s reporting on Abu Akleh’s cold-blooded killing was highly inaccurate.

“Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Dies at 51,” read the New York Times article on her death. Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin; she was wearing a press jacket.

“This reads like an obituary headline for someone who died in their bed. There is no world in which it’s acceptable, and it happens over and over again,” Khawaja wrote in another tweet.

“I understand we don’t yet have all the facts. And keep in mind that editors, not reporters, write headlines. But this wording was a deliberate choice, and it blatantly misrepresents what happened today.”

Jewish Voice for Peace, a human rights organization, posted on its Instagram account a more precise rephrasing of the headline — “Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Assassinated by Israeli Sniper While Wearing a Press Vest and Reporting on Israeli Military Violence.”

 


UN condemns killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

UN condemns killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Updated 14 May 2022

UN condemns killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

UN condemns killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
  • UN Security Council statement reiterated ‘that journalists should be protected as civilians’
  • Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead Wednesday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation.”
A press statement was approved by the 15 council members after language was removed emphasizing the importance of media freedom and the need for journalists working in dangerous areas to be protected at the insistence of China and Russia, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private.
The council statement reiterated “that journalists should be protected as civilians” and also condemned the injury to Abu Akleh’s colleague.
Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, revered for her coverage of Palestinian life under Israeli rule for the Al Jazeera satellite channel for the last 25 years.
She was shot dead Wednesday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Journalists who were with her, including an Al Jazeera colleague who was shot and wounded, said Israeli forces fired upon them even though they were clearly identifiable as reporters.
Anger at Abu Akleh’s killing escalated Friday when Israeli riot police pushed and beat pallbearers, causing them to briefly drop her casket in a shocking start to her funeral procession. It turned into perhaps the largest display of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation.
Israel says it is investigating the incident. It initially suggested she might have been shot by Palestinian militants, without providing evidence, but has since backtracked. Israel called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank and cooperates with it on security.
But the Palestinians rejected a joint investigation and demanded an independent international investigation.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for her killing and said he would immediately ask the International Criminal Court to investigate. The ICC launched an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes over a year ago, a probe Israel has rejected as biased.
The Security Council did not use the word international, calling for an impartial investigation and stressing the need to ensure accountability.
Norway’s UN Ambassador Mona Juul commended the “good collaboration,” calling the protection of journalists a priority for her country.
“We are particularly concerned about the rising trend in attacks on media works, and on women journalists in particular” Juul said in a statement.


IDF official: Al Jazeera journalist may have been shot by Israeli soldier

IDF official: Al Jazeera journalist may have been shot by Israeli soldier
Shireen Abu Akleh was reporting on clashes between the IDF and Palestinians in Jenin. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 May 2022

IDF official: Al Jazeera journalist may have been shot by Israeli soldier

IDF official: Al Jazeera journalist may have been shot by Israeli soldier
  • Palestinian-American TV veteran Shireen Abu Akleh shot during clashes in West Bank on Wednesday
  • Palestinian Authority to take the case to the International Criminal Court

LONDON: A Palestinian-American journalist who was killed covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank may have been shot by a soldier, the Israel Defense Forces has admitted.

Shireen Abu Akleh, who worked for Qatari TV news network Al Jazeera, was reporting on clashes between the IDF and Palestinians at a refugee camp in the town of Jenin.

She had been in the area alongside other journalists, all of whom were wearing civilian clothing, blue helmets and flak vests with the word “Press” clearly visible on them.

Ali Samoudi, a producer for Al Jazeera who was caught in the crossfire with Abu Akleh, and was shot in the back during the incident, claimed it was IDF soldiers who opened fire on them, telling the network: “We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming.”

An IDF official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that the military was investigating the possibility Abu Akleh was killed by one of its soldiers. He added that soldiers involved in the incident had had their rifles confiscated for ballistics testing.

“A soldier with a rifle and a very good aiming system was shooting toward a terrorist with an M16, in very good condition, very clear picture, that was shooting on our troops. What we are checking now is the location of Shireen,” the official told the Post.

The admission marks a change in tone from Israel, after the prime minister, Naftali Bennett, as well as other senior government figures and institutions, initially suggested Abu Akleh had been killed by Palestinian gunmen, after a video circulated on social media appearing to show Palestinians firing down an alleyway during the clash.

Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, however, used geolocation of the footage to show that Abu Akleh had been shot a considerable distance away from where it was filmed.

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz subsequently suggested that Abu Akleh could conceivably have been shot by either side in the clash.

The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani blamed Israel for Abu Akleh’s death, saying: “We must hold the perpetrators of this heinous crime accountable.”

On Thursday, thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to mourn Abu Akleh, a well-known and respected journalist, whose death drew condolences from colleagues around the world.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority would take the case to the International Criminal Court, adding that the PA did not trust Israel because “(they) are the ones who committed the crime.”