Sunday 14 April 2013

2nd Aljazeera anchor decries social media abuse

Aljazeera TV's Ghada Owais (left) and Khadija Bengana

Aljazeera TV anchorwoman Ghada Owais publicly complained today of being the victim of social network abuse, denying any connection to social networking accounts bearing her name.
A million dollar bounty on the head of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was recently publicized on fake Facebook and Twitter accounts ascribed to her.
In an interview to website, Owais said news of the purported reward was widely circulated by “up to 50 Arabic -- not counting other French and English -- websites and news outlets that failed to verify its authenticity.”
She said the “painful abuse misled people and diverted attention from my coverage (last month) of the humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people in a refugee camp in Jordan and in Aleppo.”
Owais also said her impersonation on Twitter and Facebook undermined her credibility “as a human being who forswears violence and as a journalist committed to balanced, objective and accurate reporting.”
In many cases, high-quality Twitter and Facebook accounts are nearly impossible to discern from the real thing.
But Aljazeera portal said Facebook management agreed to permanently remove all accounts impersonating Ms Owais “save one account that will carry her name and be managed by Aljazeera for now.”
The 35-year-old Owais, who is Lebanese and read mass media at the Lebanese University, joined Aljazeera TV in 2006.
Her Algerian colleague at Doha-headquartered Aljazeera TV, Khadija Bengana, was subjected to similar social networking abuse last January, when automated false accounts bearing her name carried statements lauding the "humanity" of Adolf Hitler, glorifying Nazism and calling for holy war against Israel.