Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | December 27, 2022 – This fall when Elon Musk took over Twitter he promised that he will adhere to free speech principles – allowing for the free flow of ideas and expression. However, only a few months into his control of the company he has kept one policy consistent – the silencing of Palestinian voices, including journalists. The attack on Palestinian journalists and voices has escalated over the past few weeks, culminating with the suspension of renowned journalist Said Arikat.
Arikat, a fixture at the State Department briefings as the longtime Washington correspondent for Al-Quds newspaper, a Palestinian publication, has had his Twitter account suspended for close to a month with no explanation. Palestinians around the world rely on Arikat to press the U.S. State Department on essential human rights issues, and he has faithfully reported from the State Department’s briefing room for over 20 years. During his career Arikat also served as a UN Spokesman in Iraq, and as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “It makes absolutely no sense that Twitter and Elon Musk tout freedom of speech and expression, and at the same time continue to deplatform and suspend Palestinian voices, especially someone as established, reputable, and respected as Said Arikat. We call on Elon to reinstate Mr. Arikat’s Twitter account, and to meet with Palestinian and Arab advocates so he can hear directly from the community and not rely on misguided policies he inherited.”
During a time when the suspension of journalists’ Twitter accounts received intense media coverage and outrage, very few in the industry took time to cover the arbitrary and permanent suspension of a Palestinian journalist.
ADC will continue to press for the reinstatement of Arikat’s Twitter account, and all those similarly impacted. ADC also will continue to pursue a meeting with Elon Musk to discuss the targeting and silencing of our community members.