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ABC sacks journalist who posted about Gaza on her Instagram account

ABC sacks journalist who posted about Gaza on her Instagram account

Australian news broadcaster ABC fired a journalist allegedly for sharing a social media post on Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza on her personal Instagram account.

Antoinette Lattouf, 40, who worked as a short-term host of the Sydney radio show, said she will fight her “unlawful termination for as long as it takes”.

Lattouf shared a video on Instagram by the Human Rights Watch non-profit, accusing the Israeli government of using “starvation of civilians as a weapon of war in Gaza”.

The journalist reposted the video and commented: “HRW reporting starvation as a tool of war”.

ABC said Lattouf’s case was “fundamentally and entirely misconceived”. In a news report on its website that detailed the broadcaster’s response, ABC said Lattouf’s casual employment was terminated “because she failed or refused to comply with directions that she not post on social media about matters of controversy”.

ABC said Lattouf was warned by her manager on a phone call about certain complaints from the public, about a “perception the applicant was biased in relation to the current conflict in Gaza”.

The manager asked Lattouf to not post anything on social media about “matters of controversy” during her tenure with the public broadcaster.

She has now filed a claim for unlawful dismissal against the ABC for terminating her five-day assignment two days early last month.

In her Fair Work Commission submission claims, Lattouf said that ABC told her she breached the organisation’s social media policy for posting content from Human Rights Watch about the war in Gaza on her personal Instagram account.

She has also accused the company of discrimination based on race. Lattouf is of Lebanese heritage.

"She was sacked for expressing a political opinion and because of her race. Since 7 October and the ensuing conflict in the middle east, it has become notorious in the media industry that Arab and Muslim journalists are being intimidated, censored and sacked,” said Josh Bornstein, workplace employment lawyer representing Lattouf, shortly after she was terminated from her role.

“The Applicant’s race and national extraction/social origin were entirely irrelevant to (and played no part in) the decision not to continue her casual engagement,” the broadcaster said.

In December, Lattouf had confirmed her dismissal from the radio role, and said: “I am very disappointed by the ABC’s decision today. I believe I was terminated unlawfully. This is not a win for journalism or critical, fair thinking.”