Associated Press Journalist Fired after Pro-Palestinian Posts
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue condemns the Associated Press for its unjust termination of Emiley Wilder.
Associated Press, an independent international news organization, has decided to fire Emiley Wilder, a 22 years old Jewish news associate and a Stanford college graduate for violating the company’s social media policies. Emiley, who was fired only three weeks after joining the AP, was described as a “Witch Hunt” by conservatives who resurfaced her old social media posts critical of Israel and her pro-Palestinian activism in college.
A spokesperson for the AP argued that the organization abides by its own principles, and values and refrain from interfering or commenting on personal matters of its employees; however, the spokesperson pointed that “she was dismissed for violations of AP’s social media policy during her time at AP”, says the spokesperson.
The spokesperson adds that when it comes especially to report on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, or any other, journalists shall cover the story with fairness and credibility and cannot take sides.
The most controversial tweet shared by Wilder was on the 16th of May where she questioned the language of media outlets. “Objectivity’ feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim, using ‘Israel’ but never ‘Palestine,’ or ‘war’ but not ‘siege and occupation’ are political choices – yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased”, she wrote.
The Washington Free Bacon, American conservative political journalism, raised its concerns and speculated that Wilder’s position in AP in Phoenix, fueled concerns about the objectivity of AP, as the news outlet shared an office building with Hamas in Gaza.
Wilder argues that the decision to fire her came after the harassment campaign against her started on Monday, where conservative outlets and Stanford college republicans shared her old social media posts and noted her pro-Palestinian college activism, branded her as anti-Israel and slammed the news organization for hiring her.
The Stanford college republicans who tweeted a thread highlighting her activism during her college years brought her affiliations with Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as her participation in a 2017 “Return the Birthright” rally in New York.
Despite that an AP editor assured Emiley on Tuesday to not face repercussions for her old posts and activism, and that the agency is most concerned about the harassment campaigns she was facing, the same person on Wednesday informed her that she was terminated immediately after her old posts went viral by conservative outlets.
So far, the News Media Guild, the union which represents the Associated Press’ editorial and technology staff members, still awaits a response on which comments that caused the dismissal of Wilder.
The termination of Wilder caused outrage among journalists, responding with messages of solidarity, “I stand with Emily” wrote an Arizona republic reporter. Other journalists were critical on the AP’s decision to fire journalists for her old previous college or high school tweets.
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue would also like to pinpoint that this is not the first incident for the News Agency to fire an employee for his pro-Palestinian activism. Eyad Hamad, a Palestinian cameraman who worked for AP for 20 years, have been fired from the AP after the Palestinian Authority filed a complaint against him in May 2020. Hamad said that he was fired because he criticized the Palestinian security forces for arresting and beating a Palestinian journalist.
The Associated Press News Agency is being heavily criticized for its decision for firing the young journalist, marking the agency unjust decision suggesting a bow to political pressure campaigns. The decision embarks on the agency prohibition of its employees to utilize their right of freedom of expression and openly express their opinions on sensitive political matters or other public issues for fear that it could damage the organizations reputation for objectivity and neutrality.