Washington Post fires reporter after feuding publicly with her colleagues

Washington Post fires reporter after feuding publicly with her colleagues
Felicia Sonmez's termination comes after the newspaper suspended journalist Dave Weigel for one month without pay for retweeting sexist joke. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 10 June 2022

Washington Post fires reporter after feuding publicly with her colleagues

Washington Post fires reporter after feuding publicly with her colleagues
  • The journalist was fired for misconduct, Washington Post said
  • Sonmez was critical of the newspaper’s leadership and colleagues

LONDON: The Washington Post on Thursday fired reporter Felicia Sonmez, who has been publicly feuding with her colleagues and criticizing the newspaper’s leadership for the past week.

It said Sonmez was fired for “misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your coworkers online and violating The Post's standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”

“We cannot allow you to continue to work as a journalist representing The Washington Post,” the statement concluded.

It comes after the newspaper suspended journalist Dave Weigel for one month without pay for retweeting a post containing a sexist joke.

Weigel was called out publicly by Sonmez on Twitter and privately on a Washington Post Slack channel.

Sonmez quoted Weigel’s tweet with the caption: “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”

On Slack, she tagged Weigel and asked: “I’m sorry but what is this?” His retweet of the joke sent “a confusing message about what the Post’s values are,” she added.

Weigel apologized for the retweet and deleted it from his account. He was subsequently suspended without pay for a month. However, Sonmez continued to criticize him, drawing more and more attention.

Sonmez proceeded to argue publicly with many of her colleagues, prompting executive editor Sally Buzbee to intervene with an internal memo stating the newspaper did not tolerate colleagues "attacking colleagues" either face-to-face or online.

“Respect for others is critical to any civil society, including our newsroom.”

Sonmez was not satisfied with the response and tweeted that Buzbee’s note had provided “fodder for *more* harassment” against her.

In her public comments, Sonmez was also highly critical of the newspaper’s leadership, including Buzbee, and some of her colleagues.

In one Twitter thread, she suggested it was only a good workplace for those who were white and highly paid.

Sonmez sued the paper for discrimination in 2021, but the suit was dismissed.


Snap launches ‘Family Center’ to give parents more control

Snap launches ‘Family Center’ to give parents more control
Updated 41 sec ago

Snap launches ‘Family Center’ to give parents more control

Snap launches ‘Family Center’ to give parents more control
  • In-app feature comes amid growing concerns for teenagers’ online safety
  • Parents will also be able to report any suspicious or concerning accounts to Snapchat

DUBAI: Snap has launched a new feature, known as Family Center, that gives parents more control over their children’s Snapchat habits.
The in-app feature is designed to be used both by parents and children.
Parents will be able to see which Snapchat friends have sent messages, photos or videos within the last week, but will not be able to see the contents of the messages.
They will also be able to report any suspicious or concerning accounts to Snapchat.
Parents will have to install Snapchat on their own device and then link their account to their children’s accounts to access Family Center. They can also invite other family members aged 25 and above to access the feature.

Only those aged 13 to 18 can join Family Center by opting in, with those under 13 officially not allowed to sign up to the platform.
The feature is being launched in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and will be rolled out to more countries later in the year.


BBC hires first disinformation and social media correspondent

BBC hires first disinformation and social media correspondent
Spring was a specialist disinformation and social media reporter at BBC News. (Twitter)
Updated 09 August 2022

BBC hires first disinformation and social media correspondent

BBC hires first disinformation and social media correspondent

LONDON: The BBC promoted on Tuesday reporter Marianna Spring to the role of disinformation and social media correspondent, the first of its kind at the news platform. 

 

 

Prior to this, Spring was a specialist disinformation and social media reporter at BBC News and BBC World Service since 2020. 

Spring announced her promotion on Twitter, where she confirmed she will be investigating the real-world consequences of online disinformation and trolling on social media, with new podcasts and more in the pipeline.


UN formally ‘raises concerns’ over Iran’s ‘abuse’ of female journalists

UN formally ‘raises concerns’ over Iran’s ‘abuse’ of female journalists
Updated 09 August 2022

UN formally ‘raises concerns’ over Iran’s ‘abuse’ of female journalists

UN formally ‘raises concerns’ over Iran’s ‘abuse’ of female journalists
  • BBC filed multiple complaints to world body since 2017
  • Tehran alleges UK channel’s Persian service supports regime change

LONDON: The UN’s formal communication with Iran’s government over its alleged abuse of BBC Persian’s female staff and their families, has now been published, alongside a terse denial from Tehran.

This comes in the wake of the BBC filing an urgent appeal to the UN in February about Iran’s alleged ongoing harassment of the journalists working for the UK channel’s Farsi service.

The BBC claims that the harassment includes online violence, threats of rape and murder, attacks on their credibility, hacking and phishing of their emails and telephones, and false and defamatory stories about their personal lives.

The UN communication, originally sent to Iranian authorities in late May, was officially published on Tuesday alongside a response from Iran, according to reports.

The BBC has filed multiple complaints with the UN since 2017, the latest of which was in February 2022. The channel claims that its staff and their families have faced relentless harassment and intimidation since BBC Persian TV was launched in 2009.

In the communication, UN experts expressed “grave concern over the continuation of reported harassment and intimidation of the BBC News Persian staff and their family members, which appears to be aimed at preventing them from continuing their journalistic activities with the language service.

The UN experts also raised concerns about the reported surveillance of journalists and the harassment of their sources in Iran, the interrogation of their family members, and the pressure placed on them “to leave their jobs.”

Additionally, the UN experts warned Iran that they intend to raise public concern regarding the alleged treatment, stating that “the wider public should be alerted” about the matter.

In its written response, Iran’s government claimed the journalists were supporting “the overthrow of the Islamic Republic,” with “hostile” coverage that “tarnishes” the regime, and which “incited riots.”

Director of BBC World Service Liliane Landor slammed Iran’s response: “We are grateful to the United Nations for raising our grave concerns about the treatment of our BBC News Persian journalists. We reject Iran’s attempt to justify its behaviour — the sanctions and harassment against our colleagues and their families must stop.”

International counsel for the BBC World Service, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson, said: “Iran’s aggressive, defensive response to the UN experts provides a revealing insight into how it considers independent journalism: a threat to its power, which must be silenced.”

They urged the international community to hold Iran accountable for these actions.


Algerian influencers jailed over student scam: media

Algerian influencers jailed over student scam: media
Updated 09 August 2022

Algerian influencers jailed over student scam: media

Algerian influencers jailed over student scam: media
  • The charges were criminal association, forgery, theft, fraud and money laundering
  • All three are well-known in the North African country

ALGIERS: Two Algerian social media influencers were sentenced on appeal Tuesday to a year each in prison, with six months suspended, over a scam targeting students seeking education abroad, local media reported.
Among the charges faced by Farouk Boudjemline, known as Rifka, and Mohamed Aberkane, alias Stanley, were criminal association, forgery, theft, fraud and money laundering.
Their co-accused Numidia Lezoul faced the same charges but was acquitted.
All three are well-known in the North African country, and were originally sentenced to one year each and fined the equivalent of 650 euros for promoting the “Future Gate” agency.
This had defrauded many Algerians wishing to study abroad, particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
It charged students large sums to arrange their university registration and provide accommodation, but left them to their fate once there.
Oussama Rezagui, the head of the agency, was given a six-year jail sentence, reduced on appeal from seven years, and a heavy fine.


UAE marketing official wins World Media Award for content creativity

UAE marketing official wins World Media Award for content creativity
Al-Shehhi oversees and develops strategic plans and policies to increase the UAE’s digital influence and outreach. (WMG)
Updated 09 August 2022

UAE marketing official wins World Media Award for content creativity

UAE marketing official wins World Media Award for content creativity
  • Khaled Al-Shehhi reaches billions of people with campaigns
  • Meals for over 1.2m raised in Burj Khalifa COVID-19 project

LONDON: The World Media Group announced on Tuesday that Khaled Al-Shehhi, executive director of marketing and communications for the UAE government, is the winner of its 2022 award for content leadership and innovation.

Al-Shehhi was awarded the honor by his peers for creating “exemplary content-driven campaigns that demonstrate brand bravery, creativity, and innovation,” WMG, a strategic alliance of the world’s leading media brands, said in a press statement.

As head of the government’s media office, Al-Shehhi has been at the center of many award-winning creative campaigns, including the transformation of the Burj Khalifa into the world’s largest donation box, which reached 4.6 billion people and raised over 1.2 million meals for those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Campaign effectiveness is just one part of this story,” the WMG stated. “Al-Shehhi has transformed the way a government entity approaches communications by making creative excellence the essence of its function. It’s clear the UAE media office behaves like a brand, not an institution.”

In response to the win, Al-Shehhi thanked the World Media Group, saying it “showcases the very best in content marketing, so I’m delighted to receive the award for Content Leadership & Innovation.”

“My goal has been to transform the way the UAE Government communicates by producing original innovative and creative content that positively impacts the lives of people locally, regionally and globally.” He said it was an honor for him and his team to be recognized by their peers.

WMG’s statement also cited Al-Shehhi’s ground-breaking initiatives to support the Middle East’s first mission to Mars including Double Moon, a regional-first projection stunt; and a limited-edition passport stamp for UAE visitors made of “Martian Ink.”

Al-Shehhi oversees and develops strategic plans and policies to increase the UAE’s digital influence and outreach.

His expertise has strengthened the UAE’s reputation as a hub for developmental, humanitarian, cultural and knowledge projects.

Al-Shehhi will receive his award at the Ham Yard Hotel in London on Thursday Sept. 8, where the final category winners will also be announced during a live ceremony.

The winner of this year’s Grand Prix Award will also be announced on the same night, joining previous winners London & Partners, Malaria No More UK, Shell, Sonos and Tata Motors as the ‘best of the best.’