British journalist slammed for ‘racist’ interview with Palestinian politician

British journalist slammed for ‘racist’ interview with Palestinian politician
Hartley-Brewer repeatedly speaks over Barghouti and raises her voice. (X/Sourced)
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Updated 07 January 2024

British journalist slammed for ‘racist’ interview with Palestinian politician

British journalist slammed for ‘racist’ interview with Palestinian politician
  • Talk TV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer was interviewing Mustafa Barghouti in the aftermath of the assassination of Hamas chief Saleh Al-Arouri

LONDON: A British journalist’s interview with a Palestinian politician has sparked anger on social media, with viewers around the world describing the presenter’s conduct as “racist” and “unprofessional,” and demanding an apology.

Talk TV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer was interviewing Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mustafa Barghouti on Wednesday, the day after Israel assassinated deputy Hamas chief Saleh Al-Arouri in Beirut.

In video footage of the interview, which went viral on social media in the days that followed, Hartley-Brewer repeatedly interrupts her guest and shouts at him as he talks about the rule of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Do you think Israel is a democratic country? Netanyahu is destroying democracy,” Barghouti says.

Speaking over him, Hartley-Brewer says: “They have elections.”

Barghouti continues: “This man now has three, four courts against him because of four cases of corruption. This man knows if the war stops, he will go to jail.”

After further exchanges, Hartley-Brewer expresses impatience and says: “You talked about how you do not want Israel… you are saying Israel, Oct. 7 happened, you are placing that in a historical context, I understand that, please do not say that again. We do not have time for it. You have made that point five times already.”

Barghouti, who is head of the Palestinian National Initiative, responds: “I do not know what you have time for.”

Hartley-Brewer raises her voice to say: “Oh my God. For the love of God, let me finish a sentence, man. Maybe you are not used to women talking, I do not know, but I would like to finish a sentence.”

While Barghouti remains calm and composed, the broadcaster, in a still-raised voice, gives him 10 seconds to outline what he believes would have been “an acceptable reaction” to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

“To end occupation and allow peace to prevail for both people,” Barghouti says.

“Brilliant,” Hartley-Brewer says, then slaps her desk and concludes by saying: “Sorry to have been a woman speaking to you.”

Shocked viewers took to social media to express their anger, describing Hartley-Brewer as “bigoted,” “racist” and “unprofessional,” and demanding an apology from Talk TV.

British newsreader India Willoughby said in a message posted on social media network X that Hartley-Brewer “is very lucky that she lives in a time period where bullies are indulged,” and noted that Barghouti had “seemed very calm.”

Philip Proudfoot, a politics researcher, tweeted: “The level of disrespect shown to Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti here is beyond shocking, including an anti-Arab trope framing his struggle to explain even basic context to Julia Hartley-Brewer as driven by … misogyny.”

British-Lebanese journalist Hala Jaber shared Talk TV’s clip and described the presenter as “rude, bigoted, narrow-minded, arrogant and absolutely unprofessional.”

Addressing Hartley-Brewer directly, she added: “Your performance was a disgrace to your profession.”

Reem Kelani, who described herself as a “proud Arab woman,” urged Talk TV and Hartley-Brewer to apologize.

“Her interview with Dr. Barghouti, a man of great integrity, was a disgrace,” she wrote on X. “Hartley-Brewer also made false accusations about Dr. Barghouti’s stance towards women.”

Stewart Mills, who is based in Sydney according to his X profile, wrote: “Appalling racism by Julia Hartley-Brewer.”

Demanding an apology, he said the journalist’s conduct showed “complete disrespect for a beautiful and decent man who has devoted his life to community and public health.”

Columnist Reem Al-Harmi said Hartley-Brewer’s language was “condescending, patronizing, and next-level gaslighting.”

Wikipedia labels prominent Israeli civil rights organization ‘unreliable’ on Israel-Palestine crisis, antisemitism

Wikipedia labels prominent Israeli civil rights organization ‘unreliable’ on Israel-Palestine crisis, antisemitism
Updated 5 sec ago

Wikipedia labels prominent Israeli civil rights organization ‘unreliable’ on Israel-Palestine crisis, antisemitism

Wikipedia labels prominent Israeli civil rights organization ‘unreliable’ on Israel-Palestine crisis, antisemitism
  • Anti-Defamation League cannot be trusted as neutral source of information, Wikipedia editors conclude
  • Organization under scrutiny for its methods of tracking antisemitism and its rigid definition of the term

LONDON: Wikipedia has labelled the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Israeli civil rights organization, as “generally unreliable” for its work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, effectively declassifying it as a top source on its pages.

Editors of the world’s largest online encyclopedia concluded that the ADL, known as the premier Jewish civil rights organization in the US, cannot be trusted as a neutral source of information about antisemitism and the Israel-Palestine crisis.

“ADL no longer appears to adhere to a serious, mainstream and intellectually cogent definition of antisemitism, but has instead given in to the shameless politicization of the very subject that it was originally esteemed for being reliable on,” an editor known as Iskandar323, who initiated the discussion about the ADL, wrote in a debate thread.

Editors highlighted the definition of Zionism, the Jewish nationalist movement advocating for the creation of an Israeli state, as a key reason for the declassification.

The decision, which equates the ADL with tabloids, is a significant blow to the organization’s historical status as a key source of information regarding the tracking of antisemitism in the US.

The ADL has faced scrutiny for its methodologies and its rigid definition of antisemitism.

Experts repeatedly expressed skepticism about the organization’s decision to classify demonstrations featuring “anti-Zionist chants and slogans” as antisemitic.

Critics argue that this classification does not represent the full spectrum of antisemitism, because it excludes Jewish progressives and others critical of Israel.

The Forward, a US-Jewish newspaper, found at least 3,000 cases that raised concerns about the ADL’s logging system.

This decision appears to reflect ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s position that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism, full stop,” as he stated in a 2022 speech.

Greenblatt has often been criticized for his strong stance on the issue and has been accused of a partisan approach toward Israel.

In November, he endorsed Elon Musk, who had posted an antisemitic conspiracy theory on his X account, while more recently he described US student protests as Iranian “proxies” and compared the Palestinian keffiyeh scarf to a swastika.

In a statement, the ADL said the Wikipedia decision was part of a “campaign to delegitimize the ADL.”

“This is a sad development for research and education, but ADL will not be daunted in our age-old fight against antisemitism and all forms of hate,” the statement said.

US regulator says TikTok may be violating child privacy law

US regulator says TikTok may be violating child privacy law
Updated 19 June 2024

US regulator says TikTok may be violating child privacy law

US regulator says TikTok may be violating child privacy law

NEW YORK: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Tuesday that it had referred a complaint against TikTok to the Justice Department, saying the popular video sharing app may be violating child privacy laws.
The complaint, which also names TikTok’s Chinese parent company Bytedance, stems from an investigation launched following a 2019 settlement, the FTC said in a statement.
At the time, the US regulator accused TikTok’s predecessor,, of having improperly collected child users’ personal data.
TikTok agreed to pay $5.7 million under the settlement and to take actions to come into compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a 1998 law.
FTC chair Lina Khan said Tuesday on X that the follow-up investigation had “found reason to believe that TikTok is violating or about to violate” COPPA and other federal laws.
A separate FTC statement said that the public announcement of the referral was atypical, but “we have determined that doing so here is in the public interest.”
Neither Khan nor the FTC statement further specified the violations TikTok and Bytedance were believed to have committed.
TikTok said Tuesday on X that it had worked for more than a year with the FTC “to address its concerns,” and was “disappointed” the agency was “pursuing litigation instead of continuing to work with us on a reasonable solution.”
“We strongly disagree with the FTC’s allegations, many of which relate to past events and practices that are factually inaccurate or have been addressed,” it said.
“We’re proud of and remain deeply committed to the work we’ve done to protect children and we will continue to update and improve our product.”
The complaint comes a day after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for new restrictions on social media to combat a sweeping mental health crisis among young people.
Among the steps proposed by Murthy in his New York Times op-ed was notably a tobacco-style warning label “stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents.”
TikTok, with roughly 170 million US users, is facing a possible ban across the United States within months, as part of legislation signed by President Joe Biden in late April.
The company has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ban, which is working its way through US courts.
Meanwhile TikTok has been targeted by several civil suits alleging the company insufficiently protected minors who use the platform.

Snap launches AI tools for advanced augmented reality

Snap launches AI tools for advanced augmented reality
Updated 18 June 2024

Snap launches AI tools for advanced augmented reality

Snap launches AI tools for advanced augmented reality
  • Snap hopes special lenses will attract new users and advertisers
  • AI-led Lens Studio reduces filter creation time and enhances realism

LONDON: Snapchat owner Snap on Tuesday launched its latest iteration of generative AI technology that will allow users to see more realistic special effects when using phone cameras to film themselves, as it seeks to stay ahead of social media rivals.
Snap has been a pioneer in the field of augmented reality (AR), which overlays computerized effects onto photos or videos of the real world. While the company remains much smaller than rival platforms like Meta, it is betting that making more advanced and whimsical special effects, called lenses, will attract new users and advertisers to Snapchat.
AR developers are now able to create AI-powered lenses, and Snapchat users will be able to use them in their content, the company said.
Santa Monica, California-based Snap also announced an upgraded version of its developer program called Lens Studio, which artists and developers can use to create AR features for Snapchat or other websites and apps.
Bobby Murphy, Snap’s chief technology officer, said the enhanced Lens Studio would reduce the time it takes to create AR effects from weeks to hours and produce more complex work.
“What’s fun for us is that these tools both stretch the creative space in which people can work, but they’re also easy to use, so newcomers can build something unique very quickly,” Murphy said in an interview.
Lens Studio now includes a new suite of generative AI tools, such as an AI assistant that can answer questions if a developer needs help. Another tool will allow artists to type a prompt and automatically generate a three-dimensional image that they can use for their AR lens, removing the need to develop a 3D model from scratch.
Earlier versions of AR technology have been capable only of simple effects, like placing a hat on a person’s head in a video. Snap’s advancements will now allow AR developers to create more realistic lenses, such as having the hat move seamlessly along with a person’s head and match the lighting in the video, Murphy said.
Snap also has plans to create full body, rather than just facial, AR experiences such as generating a new outfit, which is currently very difficult to create, Murphy added.

YouTube tests context ‘notes’ feature for videos

YouTube tests context ‘notes’ feature for videos
Updated 18 June 2024

YouTube tests context ‘notes’ feature for videos

YouTube tests context ‘notes’ feature for videos
  • Notes will allow users to provide additional context on videos

LONDON: Alphabet’s YouTube will soon allow users to add ‘notes’ that will provide context on some of its videos as part of a new feature that will be initially rolled out in the United States, it said on Monday.
YouTube will invite certain users and creators, as part of the initial test phase, to write notes that are meant to provide “relevant, timely, and easy-to-understand context” on videos.
The notes, for instance could clarify when a song is meant to be a parody, point out when a new version of a product being reviewed is available, or let viewers know when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event.
Social media platform X has a similar feature called Community Notes through which it allows select contributors to add context to posts including tags such as “misleading” and “out of context.”
The notes feature on YouTube will be available initially on mobile to users in the US and in English. In this phase, third-party evaluators will rate the helpfulness of notes, which will help train the systems, before a potential broader rollout, YouTube said.
Viewers in the US will start to see notes on videos in the coming weeks and months.

Greece says BBC report does not prove coast guard threw migrants overboard

Greece says BBC report does not prove coast guard threw migrants overboard
Updated 18 June 2024

Greece says BBC report does not prove coast guard threw migrants overboard

Greece says BBC report does not prove coast guard threw migrants overboard
  • BBC investigation alleges that the Greek coastguard caused dozens of migrant deaths between 2020 and 2023
  • Survivors have filed a criminal complaint against the Greek coast guard, accusing it of a slow response despite multiple warnings

ATHENS: Greece rejected Monday a BBC investigation that alleged its coast guard caused the deaths of dozens of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, denying accusations it had broken international law.
In an investigation published on its website on Monday, the BBC counted 43 migrants it said had died in the Aegean Sea after being turned back by Greek coast guards between May 2020 and May 2023.
Nine of the dead were deliberately thrown overboard, the publicly funded British broadcaster added.
Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis denied the claims.
“We monitor every publication, every investigation, but I repeat: what has been reported is in no way proven,” he said, adding the coast guard “saves dozens of human lives each day.”
Greece has long been accused of carrying out illegal operations to force back migrants braving the perilous crossing from Turkiye’s western coast in the hope of reaching the European Union.
Though Athens has always denied the practice, numerous investigations by international media and rights groups have documented its existence, often with video evidence.
The BBC said its investigation examined 15 such pushback operations over a three-year period.
As well as basing its reporting on local media, NGOs and the Turkish coast guard, the BBC was able to interview eyewitnesses.
They include a Cameroonian national who said he and two other migrants were arrested after landing on the island of Samos in September 2021.
He said the police forced them onto a Greek coast guard boat, beating them as they went, before throwing them out into the water.
He was the only one to survive, with the bodies of his two companions — an Ivorian and another Cameroonian — washing up on the Turkish coast.
The eyewitness’s lawyers are calling for the Greek authorities to open a double murder case into the incident.
The EU said it was aware of the “terrible allegations.”
“Greek authorities, as in all EU member states, must fully respect obligations under the asylum and international law,” European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told journalists in Brussels.
Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have entered Greece in recent years from the sea and land borders with Turkiye.
The International Organization for Migration has declared the Mediterranean passage the world’s most perilous migration route.
In 2023, a migrant trawler with hundreds of people on board sank off the Greek coast, killing more than 600 people in one of Europe’s deadliest shipwrecks.
The survivors have filed a criminal complaint against the Greek coast guard.
They allege that the coast guard took hours to mount a response to the sinking ship, despite warnings from EU border agency Frontex and the NGO Alarm Phone.