Al Jazeera has suspended two journalists over a video about the Holocaust which violated the network’s editorial standards, the company said in a press release Sunday.
“Al Jazeera stated today, that it has taken disciplinary action and suspended two of its journalists over video content produced on the Holocaust,” the company said. “The video content and accompanying posts were swiftly deleted by AJ+ senior management from all AJ+ pages and accounts on social media, as it contravened the Network’s editorial standards.”
The decision came after Jenan Moussa, a reporter for the UAE-based Al Aan TV flagged a tweet from Al Jazeera AT+ Arabic network, which featured the video along with the following description:
“Gas ovens killed millions of Jews, that’s how the novel says. What is the truth of the #holocaust and how did the Zionist movement benefit from it?,” it read according to a Twitter translated version. Al Jazeera first announced it had deleted the video Saturday afternoon.
Although the video was quickly removed, a recording of the original was posted online by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“The victims of the Nazis who were following Hitler’s orders, exceeded 20 million people. The Jews were part of them, so why is there a focus only on them?” asked host Muna Hawwa, who then suggested the classic anti-Semitic trope that Jews had used undo influence over finance and government to exploit the tragedy as a way to establish the state of Israel.
“The Jewish groups had financial resources, media institutions, research centers and academic voices that managed to put a special spotlight on the Jewish victims of the Nazis,” Hawwa continued, adding that some critics “accuse the Zionist movement of blowing it out of proportion in the service of the plan to establish what would later become know as the ‘state of Israel.'”
Dima Khatib, managing director of AJ+ Channels, said in the release that the original video had been produced “without the due oversight” and that “workflows are being reviewed to make sure all production goes through the proper editorial channels at all times.”
“Since its inception, Al Jazeera Media Network never sighed away from acknowledging any mistakes on its editorial content and to rectify them to avoid recurrence of such errors,” the network said.
Reps for the network did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment about how long the suspension will last or the names of the reporters involved.
Al Jazeera is a state-funded broadcaster which is owned and headquartered in Qatar. Though it has long claimed editorial independence for the country’s monarchs, many have questioned whether that is actually the case. U.S. State department cables from 2009 and later published by Wikileaks suggests the United States government is among the doubters.
“What Al Jazeera has resolutely steered away from, however, is reporting on anything politically controversial in Qatar,” one reads. “Al Jazeera, the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East, is heavily subsidized by the Qatari government and has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters,” another says.