New Delhi: Freelance CNN contributor Adeel Raja, who reported from Pakistan, has been fired by the network over a now-deleted tweet in connection with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The Islamabad-based journalist tweeted Sunday, “The world today needs a Hitler.” According to the Washington Examiner, Raja’s tweet was deleted about three hours after it was posted.
The now-deleted tweet prompted outrage on social media, with many criticising his tweet as anti-Semitic. Social media users have also dug out previous controversial posts by the journalist.
In response to the outrage, Raja tweeted Monday that he is “glad” his tweet highlighted the Palestinian cause “and brought it to limelight with me losing my job and the West’s claim of Freedom of expression and human rights! (sic)”
CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic told the Washington Examiner that the journalist would no longer be allowed to work with CNN. “Adeel Raja has never been a CNN employee. As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some news-gathering efforts from Islamabad,” he said. “However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.”
Raja, a verified Twitter user with over 81,000 followers, worked as a contributor for CNN from August 2013 till Sunday and his most recent article was published in September 2020.
According to the journalist’s LinkedIn profile, he also serves as an Executive Producer at ARY News and has previously worked with national outlets like DawnNews, Dunya TV, and Aaj TV.
In 2016, Raja won the AGAHI Award for Investigative Journalist of the Year. The AGAHI Awards are an annual award series for journalists across Pakistan.
In view of Raja’s latest tweet, social media users dug out some more controversial tweets from the Pakistani journalist.
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he reportedly tweeted, “The only reason I am supporting Germany in the finals — Hitler was a German and he did good with those Jews.” He followed up the offensive tweet by posting ‘Hail Hitler’ the next day.
Greg Price, contributor to hard-line news website Daily Caller, commented on Raja’s past tweets saying, “This guy has 54 articles under his byline at CNN. They should probably fire whoever does their background checks.”
Another user called the tweets “horrifying”.
Earlier this month, Raja had compared the Israel-Palestine conflict to the situation in Kashmir. “What the Jews are doing in Palestine is similar to what Indian Hindus are doing in Occupied Kashmir. Same tactics,” he wrote.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)