During Gaza War channel’s mission was to cast Israel as the villain, stress Mus-lim point of view, she says
The former head of Al Jazeera America’s documentary unit has sued the news network, claiming it is biased against non-Arabs and women in stories that it produces and in how it treats employees, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Shannon High-Bassalik, fired in February after working through half of a three-year contract, said the network’s recently ousted chief executive Ehab Al Shihabi left meetings when women were speaking and admitted that he tried to favor an Arab point of view on the air to please AJAM’s Qatar-based ownership.
“As ratings failed to live up to the expectations of management, Al Jazeera openly decided to abandon all pretense of neutrality in favor of putting the Ara-bic viewpoint front and center, openly demanding that programs be aired that criticized countries such as America, Israel and Egypt,” High-Bassalik’s lawsuit stated.
She said she was told that if abandonment of journalistic integrity led people to regard them as terrorists, “that was an acceptable risk for the company to take.”
High-Bassalik accused the head of the company’s investigative unit of tweeting that “Israelis are like Hitler.”
During coverage of the 2014 conflict in Gaza, she said she was told the mission was to cast Israel as the villain and emphasize the Arab and Muslim point of view.
In a statement, Al Jazeera did not address High-Bassalik’s specific allegations and did not respond to a question about them.
“We regret that Ms. High-Bassalik has now decided to make unfounded accusa-tions against Al Jazeera and its employees,” spokeswoman Jocelyn Austin said. “Al Jazeera values and respects all of its employees, and has zero tolerance of any form of discrimination.”