ABC staff threaten strike over journalist's dismissal after 'pro-Israel pressure'
Around 80 staffers at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) threatened a walkout on Tuesday over the sacking of a journalist amid pressure from pro-Israel activists, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union has confirmed.
Lebanese-Australian journalist Antoinette Lattouf’s dismissal came just three days into her job after she shared a report by Human Rights Watch in December accusing Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. The story had also been covered by ABC.
However, a report published on Tuesday by the Sydney Morning Herald revealed a concerted effort to pressure ABC chiefs to sack over Lattouf's appointment to her temporary role. The Australian daily obtained WhatsApp messages from a group called 'Lawyers for Israel' urging members to write letters calling for the journalist's dismissal.
The group reportedly sought to pressure ABC chair Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson, threatening legal action against the broadcaster if action was not taken.
Another message from the group called Lattouf's lawyer Josh Bornstein a "traiter" (sic).
Lattouf has challenged her dismissal through Australia’s Fair Work Commission, where she is due to have a hearing.
The journalist said in her submission that her dismissal was based on grounds of "political opinion or a reason that included political opinion".
Last week, Bornstein said on X that his client's sacking was "based on both political opinion and race".
ABC denied the allegations at the Fair Work Commission, and said it had told Lattouf not to post about "matters of controversy".
Lattouf said in her filing that she was told by ABC content director Elizabeth Green that "sharing straight facts and material from reputable sources was fine".