Family of slain American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh urges Biden to launch probe

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Updated 09 June 2022

Family of slain American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh urges Biden to launch probe

Family of slain American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh urges Biden to launch probe
  • US president should stop ‘double standards’ and hold Tel Aviv accountable for the killing, and continued ‘barbaric’ violence against Muslim and Christian Palestinians, says broadcaster’s brother
  • ‘If this had happened to a citizen elsewhere, or if this was an Israeli reporter, I am sure even sanctions would have been imposed on whoever did it.’

CHICAGO: The brother of slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh called on President Joe Biden Wednesday to immediately investigate the killing of his sister saying “someone must be held accountable.”

Anton Abu Akleh, who is also an American citizen, and lives with his wife in Jerusalem, said no action has been taken so far to determine who killed Shireen, 52, while she was with other journalists covering an Israeli raid on the northern West Bank city of Jenin on May 11.

Abu Akleh said he was moved when he heard Biden, a week before his sister was killed, declaring forcefully “we must do more to protect and sustain independent media and to hold to account those that seek to silence voices essential to transparent, trustworthy, and responsive governance” in defending journalists being killed in Ukraine.

But he said he is shocked that more than four weeks later, nothing has been done.

 

 

“I would beg him (Biden) to stop these double standards. I think Israel should be — or whoever shot Shireen — should be held accountable. That is what we need. It is his duty as the US president to protect all Americans in the US and overseas,” Abu Akleh said.

“The United States is the most powerful country in the world. And looking at Americans getting killed, while covering stories abroad or reporting from abroad is not acceptable. As the US president I would urge him to take immediate action. Israel gets the most aid, more than any other country. I am sure that if this was any other country, they would have sanctioned it until someone is held accountable and is brought to justice. That’s the least he could do. We need justice for Shireen.”

Appearing on “The Ray Hanania Show” Abu Akleh said he received assurances from several US officials who offered condolences to the family at their home — including US Ambassador Tom Nides, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and officials of the US Consulate in Jerusalem — that an investigation would be launched to identify the person or party responsible for the death.

Abu Akleh said if an American journalist had been killed anywhere else in the world there would be an immediate investigation, accountability and consequences.

 

 

“We wanted, we asked for an independent US investigation. Shireen is an American citizen. She is a journalist. In the beginning of May we heard President Biden asking for the freedom of (the) press. And we expect the US to initiate a just probe for the assassination of Shireen, as an American citizen, as a journalist, as a Christian,” Abu Akleh said.

“I can’t say I am satisfied. Yes they did speak with us. They supported us. We got calls from everyone. But we need something solid. We want justice for Shireen. That’s what we need. Accountability. Whoever did this must be held accountable. This can’t go on. Not just for Shireen only but for other Americans, other journalists covering (events) in occupied Palestine. There should be something formed and there should be a decision taken by this administration to prevent any future killings of Americans. I am sure if this happened somewhere else, they would have acted immediately. Or if this was an Israeli journalist, I am sure there would have been lots of things. Even sanctions would have been imposed on whoever did it.”

On June 6, US Senators Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, and Jon Ossoff, a Democrat from Georgia, sent a letter to Blinken demanding an investigation and stating: “The killing of a US citizen and of a journalist engaged in the work of reporting in a conflict zone is unacceptable ... All over the world, journalists pursue truth and accountability at great personal risk. Press freedom is a core American value, and we cannot accept impunity when journalists are killed in the line of duty. We insist that the Administration ensure a full and transparent investigation is completed and that justice is served for Ms. Akleh’s death.”

He called on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to act, not only to determine who killed his sister but to stop the violence and prevent more killings.

 

 

“I would love to speak with him (Bennett). You know I would tell him as a Palestinian you have to have peace and you have to be strong enough to have peace. You are doing nothing, you are just increasing the radicals here in Israel and also increasing the radicals on the Palestinian side. The Palestinian side is losing hope every day and that is not good,” Abu Akleh said.

“You could … at least do something good for your people, for the region. Stretch (out) your hand for peace and (you) will find many Palestinians who are interested in peace. Enough. There is no need to keep this killing cycle going on. Both sides are suffering from this. Anyone can do these things. Anyone can do war. You can see what’s happening in Ukraine now. Why don’t you be a strong man and just achieve something and do something for both nations. It is not going to be easy, but it can be done.”

Abu Akleh said he and his wife and family were “shocked” when Israeli police beat mourners during the funeral procession.

 

 

“We were shocked to see all this police gathering closing roads. We had very much difficult times entering the hospital, we as a family. Friends, all Palestinians came from everywhere to mourn Shireen and to escort her to the church. And then all of a sudden when we took out the casket from the morgue, many, I don’t know the number of Israeli occupation police, they just marched (into) the hospital, started clubbing with batons the pall bearers. Clubbing them savagely, barbarically in a way that they wanted them to drop the casket,” Abu Akleh recalled.

“They couldn’t reach the hearse to put the casket in ... I was begging the police at that moment. I just told them just give us one hour. We can finish this in one hour just get out of the way, let us get to the hospital and you don’t have to attack us. They were firing tear gas, stun grenades. Nobody can justify this actions that they took at the hospital. (In) no way can it be justified attacking a funeral. They didn’t leave any dignity for the dead nor for the living.’

Services for Shireen were held at the Roman Catholic Melkite Church located in the Old City by Jaffa Gate, Abu Akleh said, and the burial was at the Greek Orthodox cemetery about 200 meters from the church.

Abu Akleh said his sister strove to tell the accurate story, without emotion, of the challenges Palestinians face. He said American Christians need to know that Christians are suffering in the Israeli occupation.

“I can tell you Ray it is not easy. Going through all these checkpoints is a big hassle ... You can’t do anything just because one so-called police, occupation police officer, decides to block the street and you are stuck forever. We’re unable to get a permit to build a house. Many Palestinians get their house(s) demolished because they couldn’t get a license. They need to live. They need to build something for their family to live. Living in Jerusalem, as much as we love Jerusalem, it is so beautiful, but still it is a big hassle just because there is an occupation here,” he said.

“We definitely are (discriminated against). For the last maybe 10 or 12 years I couldn’t get to the (Church of) the Holy Sepulchre during the Holy Saturday or late Friday, we couldn’t get to the churches because of the checkpoints they impose on the whole city. It is off limits for Palestinians and we (Christians) can’t reach any church. It is a real occupation. This is probably the last occupation here on Earth. We saw what they did at the funeral. Barbaric. Savage. They don’t respect anyone.”

A 40-day commemoration for Shireen will be held at the Beit Hanina Roman Catholic Church, he said.

“We want all the American people to stand for Shireen and ask for justice. That is all we need. We don’t want anything more. We need justice for Shireen,” he said.

The Ray Hanania Show is broadcast live every Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern EST on WNZK AM 690 radio in Greater Detroit including parts of Ohio, and WDMV AM 700 radio in Washington DC including parts of Virginia and Maryland. The show is rebroadcast on Thursdays at 7 a.m. in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 and in Chicago at 12 noon on WNWI AM 1080.

You can listen to the radio show podcast here

 


Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
Updated 01 July 2022

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
  • For the next three seasons, Abu Dhabi Media, an Emirati public body, has been awarded the rights for a minimum total amount of $79 million
  • In the absence of a satisfactory offer in its call for tenders last year, the Italian League had developed its own Youtube channel in Arabic

ROME: Serie A on Thursday accepted the offer of TV platform Abu Dhabi Media to broadcast the Italian league in the Middle East and North Africa after more than a year without a broadcaster in this region.
For the next three seasons, Abu Dhabi Media, an Emirati public body, has been awarded the rights for a minimum total amount of $79 million, the Italian League announced.
To this guaranteed minimum income may be added any additional revenue linked to the number of subscribers that Italian football will generate on the platform, a spokesperson for Serie A told AFP.
In the absence of a satisfactory offer in its call for tenders last year, the Italian League had developed its own Youtube channel in Arabic to offer matches free of charge.


Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia
Updated 30 June 2022

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia
  • Custom animation encourages users to like, unlike and relike a tweet

DUBAI: Twitter is rolling out its new “branded likes” feature across the US, Britain, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Branded likes are essentially custom animations for the like button on a tweet that brands can pay for.

 

 

The feature is available as an add-on to Twitter’s Timeline Takeover offering, which ensures a brand’s ad is the first ad to appear when someone opens Twitter for the first time on a given day.

Advertisers can select a hashtag — and up to 10 translations of that hashtag. Twitter then works with its creative partner Bare Tree Media for the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia to create custom artwork for the campaign.

When a user taps the like button on any tweet containing the pre-selected hashtag, the custom branded like animation will appear.

Branded likes have been in testing for nearly two years with testers including brands such as Disney, Paramount Pictures, Tesco, NASA and the NBA.

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/disneyplus/status/1289092933598081025?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw 

 

Disney+ was the first brand to pay for the feature as part of the beta test, reported AdAge. The streaming platform used it to promote the premiere of “Black Is King,” Beyoncé’s highly anticipated visual album inspired by “The Lion King.”

The tweet has over 113,000 likes and more than 10,000 retweets. 

 

 

During testing, branded likes generated a positive impact when paired with the Timeline Takeover feature, resulting in a 277 percent lift in recall, and 202 percent lift in purchase and consideration intent.

Branded likes are well received by consumers too, with two-thirds of people finding them “appealing,” according to Twitter Insiders research.

It is unclear at this time when the branded likes feature will launch in other countries.


‘In Arab countries, being a journalist is a sedentary and urban profession,’ says TV5 editor-in-chief Slimane Zeghidour

‘In Arab countries, being a journalist is a sedentary and urban profession,’ says TV5 editor-in-chief Slimane Zeghidour
Updated 30 June 2022

‘In Arab countries, being a journalist is a sedentary and urban profession,’ says TV5 editor-in-chief Slimane Zeghidour

‘In Arab countries, being a journalist is a sedentary and urban profession,’ says TV5 editor-in-chief Slimane Zeghidour
  • Zeghidour laments the sorry state of journalism in the Arab world

RIYADH: Earlier this month, the French embassy in Saudi Arabia held a conference titled “France and the Arab World — From Charlemagne to the Fifth Republic” hosted by Slimane Zeghidour.

Zeghidour, an expert in regional affairs, is the editor-in-chief of French television network TV Monde, and a researcher at the French Institute of International and Strategic Research specializing in the Maghreb and Middle East region.

He spoke to Arab News en Francais during his visit to the Saudi capital, expressing his frustration with the lack of communication from the Kingdom and the state of journalism in the Arab world. 

Zeghidour’s first visit to Saudi Arabia was in 1987, 35 years ago, when he was visiting to write a book and a geopolitical essay.

A lot has changed since then. “Some transformations were unimaginable just five years ago,” he said. There are new events happening in the Kingdom, some rather “daring,” but “we (journalists) are not aware,” he added.

For example, Zeghidour learnt about a symposium on tolerance when it was already over.

Although TV5 Monde does not have a broadcast station in the Middle East, its channel Maghreb-Orient is dedicated to the region’s shows, movies and documentaries subtitled in Arabic. 

“It is through this pillar that we exist and try to exist in the Arab world,” Zeghidour said, drawing attention to countries such as Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, where French is the unofficial primary language. 

A veteran reporter for 25 years, Zeghidour has covered the first and second Intifadas, as well as wars in Sudan, Iraq and Algeria, among others. Never has he seen an Arab reporter working for an Arab newspaper on-site. “The only Arab journalists or those of Arab-origins that I met, worked for The Guardian and The New York Times.”

Investigative journalism in the Arab world is a near fallacy, according to Zeghidour, who said: “We do not recognize the right of a journalist in asking questions, although that is what their job consists of. It (their job) is not to give answers. They must first ask the right questions.”

He added: “The press, the power and the authority of each country must evolve. This mutual development must generate mutual trust and respect.”

Moreover, he believes that “in Arab countries, being a journalist is a sedentary and urban profession.” Journalists usually get their information from their contacts and there is “no extensive work or in-depth investigation on the ground in the country or abroad,” he added.

It is imperative to train investigative journalists in the Arab world, who can tell stories — not just rehash stories from news wires.

“Even in the most important and oldest Arab newspapers, the articles are simply a synthesis of international stories, or reflections and digressions on current events,” Zeghidour said. “As long as this persists, the Arab public will seek information about themselves, their situation, their daily life and their country in the international press.”

It is partly why he is unsurprised that over half (61 percent) of Arab youth get their news from social media, according to the Arab Youth Survey 2021. He also attributes the popularity of social media as a source of news to the confirmation bias people have. 

“The result of this poll is not surprising since most people are only looking for information that supports their own beliefs,” he said. “It (social media) doesn’t teach them anything new; it only reinforces what they already know.”


Journalist murdered in Mexico, 12th this year

Journalist murdered in Mexico, 12th this year
Updated 30 June 2022

Journalist murdered in Mexico, 12th this year

Journalist murdered in Mexico, 12th this year
  • De la Cruz, who had been a journalist for 15 years, was also a spokesman for a political party, Movimiento Ciudadano.
  • More than 150 journalists have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media

CIUDAD VICTORIA: A Mexican reporter was shot dead on Wednesday in the violence-plagued northeastern state of Tamaulipas — the 12th journalist killed so far in a particularly bloody year for the country’s press.
Antonio de la Cruz, who worked for the newspaper Expreso, had frequently denounced alleged acts of corruption by politicians in his posts on social media.
His wife and daughter were injured in the attack, which took place as the reporter was leaving his home in Ciudad Victoria.
“We must not allow more attacks on journalists and activists. These crimes will not go unpunished,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s spokesman, Jesus Ramirez, tweeted.
Expreso demanded “justice from authorities at all levels.”
In 2018, another one of the newspaper’s journalists, Hector Gonzalez, was beaten to death.
This year is already one of the deadliest yet for the Mexican press, prompting calls for an end to a culture of impunity.
“The prevailing impunity in the murders of journalists has become an effective weapon for criminals,” said Jorge Canahuati, president of the Inter American Press Association.
Doctors were fighting to save the life of De la Cruz’s daughter, State Governor Francisco Cabeza de Vaca said, urging prosecutors to ensure “that this cowardly crime does not go unpunished.”


De la Cruz, who had been a journalist for 15 years, was also a spokesman for a political party, Movimiento Ciudadano.
Gustavo Cardenas, a state legislator for the party, described De la Cruz as “a family man, a good man” who had sought to expose alleged corruption by local authorities.
“The main suspects are in the state government... I have not the slightest doubt that a significant responsibility falls on these men,” he said.
Media rights group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities to carry out “a prompt investigation” into the murder and whether it was linked to De la Cruz’s journalistic work.
The Tamaulipas prosecutor’s office confirmed the murder and said that it was investigating the case under protocols for dealing with crimes against freedom of expression.
More than 150 journalists have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media, with only a fraction of the crimes resulting in convictions.
The United States and the European Parliament have urged Mexico to ensure adequate protection for journalists following the recent string of killings.
Lopez Obrador has vowed “zero impunity” for the crimes.
Before de la Cruz’s murder, the government had considered that nine of this year’s victims were killed because of their media work.
It has reported the detention of 26 suspects in the murders, nine of whom have been formally charged.
Tamaulipas is one of the Mexican states most affected by violence involving drug cartels, which have repeatedly tried to silence the press with attacks, according to rights groups.
In 2012 a car bomb exploded in front of Expreso’s offices, although nobody was injured.
In 2018, a human head was left outside its offices.


A US FCC commissioner urges Apple, Google to boot TikTok from app stores

A US FCC commissioner urges Apple, Google to boot TikTok from app stores
Updated 30 June 2022

A US FCC commissioner urges Apple, Google to boot TikTok from app stores

A US FCC commissioner urges Apple, Google to boot TikTok from app stores

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: A Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission has urged the chief executives of Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google to kick Chinese-owned TikTok out of its app stores.
Brendan Carr, the FCC commissioner, said in a letter to the CEOs, dated June 24 and sent on FCC letterhead, that video-sharing app TikTok has collected vast troves of sensitive data about US users that could be accessed by ByteDance staff in Beijing. ByteDance is TikTok’s Chinese parent.
Carr tweeted details of the letter on Tuesday.
“TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr said on Twitter. “It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.”
Carr asked the companies to either remove TikTok from their app stores by July 8 or explain to him why they did not plan to do so.
Carr’s request is unusual given that the FCC does not have clear jurisdiction over the content of app stores. The FCC regulates the national security space usually through its authority to grant certain communications licenses to companies.

A TikTok spokeswoman said the company’s engineers in locations outside of the United States, including China, can be granted access to US user data “on an as-needed basis” and under “strict controls.”
Google declined comment on Carr’s letter, while Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TikTok has been under US regulatory scrutiny over its collection of US personal data. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, ordered ByteDance in 2020 to divest TikTok because of fears that US user data could be passed on to China’s communist government.
To address these concerns, TikTok said earlier this month that it migrated the information of its US users to servers at Oracle Corp.
A spokesperson for the US Department of the Treasury, which chairs CFIUS, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“What we’re seeing here from Commissioner Carr is a suggestion that at least some parts of the US government don’t think that this is enough,” Richard Sofield, a national security partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP, said about TikTok’s partnership with Oracle.