A prominent Australian journalist, Antoinette Lattouf, has been terminated from her position with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) after she shared a post on her personal Instagram account regarding Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. Lattouf, who had been hosting a radio show in Sydney on a short-term basis, is fighting her “unlawful termination” and claims she was sacked for expressing a political opinion and due to her ethnicity.
The incident unfolded when Lattouf shared a video on her personal Instagram account, originally posted by Human Rights Watch (HRW), accusing the Israeli government of employing “starvation of civilians as a weapon of war in Gaza.” Alongside the video, she added a comment stating, “HRW reporting starvation as a tool of war.”
ABC asserted that Lattouf’s dismissal was due to her refusal to comply with directions that prohibited her from posting on social media about contentious matters during her tenure with the broadcaster. A manager at ABC had warned her over phone calls about complaints from the public, suggesting a “perception” that she was biased concerning the conflict in Gaza.
The journalist has filed a claim for unlawful dismissal against ABC, alleging that the organization terminated her five-day assignment two days early last month for sharing content from HRW about the Gaza conflict on her personal Instagram account. Additionally, Lattouf accused ABC of racial discrimination, highlighting her Lebanese heritage.
Josh Bornstein, a workplace employment lawyer representing Lattouf, stated, “She was sacked for expressing a political opinion and because of her race. Since 7 October and the ensuing conflict in the Middle East, it has become notorious in the media industry that Arab and Muslim journalists are being intimidated, censored, and sacked.”
ABC has refuted the allegations of discrimination, emphasizing that Lattouf’s race played no role in the decision to terminate her casual engagement. The broadcaster maintains that her dismissal was solely due to her failure to adhere to the social media policy that restricts employees from posting content on contentious subjects.
In December, Lattouf expressed her disappointment with ABC’s decision, asserting that she believed her termination was unlawful. The incident has ignited discussions about the intersection of social media usage, freedom of expression, and the responsibilities of media organizations in Australia.