Palestinian journalist takes Deutsche Welle to court

Peter Limbourg, the director of Deutsche Welle, stands next a sign extolling 'freedom of speech' (K. Danetzki - Deutsche Welle)

Ali Abunimah 

The Electronic Intifada  /  March 24, 2022

A Palestinian-Jordanian journalist fired by Deutsche Welle is taking her case to court.

Farah Maraqa was dismissed by the German state broadcaster in February amid a purge of Arab journalists.

At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, a judge heard from lawyers for both Maraqa and Deutsche Welle. The Electronic Intifada has learned that the parties will now submit written motions before the next hearing set for July.

Maraqa has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay the costs of her legal action “on the basis of unjust termination” and an “anti-Semitic defamation campaign.”

On the same day Deutsche Welle fired Maraqa and four other Arab journalists, the state broadcaster published a deeply biased and misleading report concluding that they deserved dismissal for statements that “amounted to anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial or Holocaust relativism, as well as statements that denied Israel’s right to exist.”

That report was co-authored by a former German justice minister and Ahmad Mansour, a psychologist whose anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and pro-Israel views have made him a darling of German media and state-funded institutions.

A week later, Deutsche Welle fired two more Palestinian journalists.

The purge comes amid an accelerating crackdown on media freedoms in the European Union under the banner of fighting “disinformation.”

Last May, Deutsche Welle issued internal guidelines severely limiting the freedom of its journalists and on-air guests to criticize or accurately describe Israel.

This followed a live interview with this writer criticizing the German government’s complicity with Israel’s bombardment of Gaza that annihilated entire Palestinian families in their homes.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Welle employees held what the network labeled – with no apparent sense of irony – “media freedom” rallies in solidarity with colleagues in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, as it purges Palestinian and other Arab journalists under the guise of fighting “anti-Semitism,” the German state broadcaster has been busy in recent weeks whitewashing actual Nazis, like Ukraine’s Azov Battalion.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine (Haymarket Books)