The social media post simply pointed to a report from Human Rights Watch, but it was critical of Israel and came from a Lebanese Australian journalist whom critics considered biased.
Antoinette Lattouf, a well-known figure in the Australian media, was on a brief contract with the country’s main public broadcaster when she posted the Instagram story with the caption: “HRW reporting starvation as a tool of war.”
The next day, as pro-Israel lawyers continued a private campaign to have her ousted — which had begun before she started the job — Ms. Lattouf was told by managers at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that her radio hosting gig would conclude early.
The dispute over whether that was justified, now mired in legal wrangling, has thrown one of Australia’s most trusted institutions into strife and, on Monday, resulted in a rare “vote of no confidence” in its top editor. It has become another example of how intense debate over the Israel-Hamas conflict is revealing deep fault lines of identity and divided opinion in different parts of the world.
The ABC, publicly funded and with an obligation to represent all stripes of Australian life, is confronting the collision of two contentious issues. First, how do news outlets and their employees cover hot-button topics in a time of stark political divides and strong personal brands? And second, as its journalists allege, has Australia’s beleaguered public broadcaster been so weakened by underfunding and right-wing political attacks that it will not stand up for its journalists, especially people of color and women?