September 27, 2022

A German court docket has dominated that the dismissal of Palestinian-Jordanian journalist Farah Maraqa by the German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on expenses of anti-Semitism was ‘legally unjustified’.

“It’s a reduction that the choose dominated in Farah’s favour and held Deutsche Welle accountable for this unlawful dismissal,” Giovanni Fassina, director of the ELSC, which advocates for the authorized rights of Palestinians in Europe, mentioned on Monday in an announcement shared with Al Jazeera.

“We hope this sends a transparent message that they need to cease their censorship practices,” mentioned Fassina, including that “pushing again – together with by means of authorized motion – is efficient and is a necessity with a purpose to uphold these rights”.

Maraqa was fired together with six different Arab staff of DW final February.

Maraqa sued DW and in July, based mostly on the advice of her lawyer, the court docket mentioned that each events needed to launch a joint assertion in an effort to rehabilitate Maraqa’s popularity.

The costs towards Maraqa arose after an exterior inquiry that scoured earlier articles and social media posts of the previous staff – who’re all Palestinian or Lebanese – and based mostly its findings on the Worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) controversial prolonged definition of anti-Semitism.

The definition, which has been adopted by Germany, has been criticised as a method of silencing pro-Palestinian assist and dissent towards Israeli insurance policies.

The ELSC, a non-governmental organisation which gives authorized help to associations, human rights teams, and pro-Palestinian people and organisations in Europe, had mentioned earlier that it was “courageous and vital” that Maraqa had challenged her termination.

“This case is illustrative of a worrying development in Germany of institutionalised silencing of Palestinian voices and narratives by using malicious practices,” ELSC informed Al Jazeera. “It depicts how the anti-Palestinian sentiment and the institutional use of the IHRA definition can result in extreme infringements upon the liberty of expression and freedom of the press.”

‘Punitive insurance policies’

The DW-commissioned inquiry into Maraqa and her co-accused colleagues was led by former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Ahmad Mansour, a Palestinian-German psychologist recognized for his pro-Israeli views. Mansour says he’s an knowledgeable on Muslim “radicalisation” and has been accused of Islamophobia.

Nevertheless, a separate investigation carried out by Euro-Med Monitor discovered that Maraqa’s articles in query had been taken out of context and that the inquiry itself contained a number of situations of embracing a pro-Israeli narrative towards Palestinians.

In keeping with ELSC, the adoption of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism represents a worrying development of an institutionalised silencing of Palestinian voices and narratives.

“That is leading to restrictive and punitive insurance policies towards advocates for Palestinian rights, comparable to prolonged disciplinary proceedings, denial of use of public areas, cuts in public funding and exclusion from public occasions and debate,” mentioned Fassina, ELSC’s director.

“Furthermore, the IHRA has a a lot wider ‘chilling impact’ on the proper to freedom of expression, by instigating a tradition of worry and self-censorship that pre-empts free and democratic debate in regards to the state of Israel and the Palestinian individuals amongst society at giant,” she mentioned.

‘Illegal termination’

A former colleague of Maraqa, Maram Salem, has already gained her case towards DW for illegal termination.

On July 6, a court docket dominated that Salem’s dismissal was unlawful, and mentioned her Fb posts weren’t anti-Semitic.

One of many posts in query had referred to as out the boundaries of freedom of expression in Europe in the case of speaking about Palestine.

“That was essential [for the judge] to say, because it was very relieving for Maram,” her lawyer, Ahmed Abed, informed Al Jazeera.

Within the aftermath of the court docket’s determination in July, Abed launched an announcement the place Salem referred to as on DW to “take duty, publicly apologise, and retract the allegations”.

DW may have till mid-September to attraction the court docket’s determination. It didn’t reply to requests for remark by the point of publication.

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