For 25 years, Al Jazeera’s journalist Shireen Abu Akleh devoted herself to telling the stories of Palestine to the world. She reported each day as Palestinians navigated life under occupation, making sure their voices were heard. On May 11, 2022, Shireen was killed by Israeli forces while reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, despite wearing a blue flak jacket that was visibly labelled with “PRESS” on it.
Recognising the gravity of the killing of our own journalist, our Twitter team sprang into action, breaking the news and providing real-time updates. We used Twitter to go beyond just presenting the facts and delved deeper into the situation. We provided a diverse range of information by harnessing the features of Twitter, which included broadcasting LIVE field reports, consistently updated threads, and delivering original content through social videos. This was a testament to Shireen Abu Akleh’s legacy in the MENA region and globally.
Our priority was to keep Shireen's story alive and hold those responsible to account as the world mourned a revered journalist who was only doing her job when she was killed by Israeli forces.
Al Jazeera English’s Twitter further raised awareness of the pursuit of justice for Shireen Abu Akleh when Al Jazeera Media Network submitted evidence to the ICC. Our audience remained engaged as Shireen’s case was shared with the world. Through streaming LIVE broadcasts and giving a platform to those who knew Shireen, we maintained our journalistic integrity to bring justice to her story.
Al Jazeera English's Twitter served as the go-to source for accurate and timely coverage of the tragic incident involving our journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. Our unique storytelling and distinct features of Twitter allowed us to effectively break down the complexity of the story and deliver detailed updates. The centerpiece of our storytelling was original native content that other media organisations had overlooked. We delved deeper into the role Shireen Abu Akleh played in her Palestinian community, what she represented as a journalist, and the impact of her death on press freedom.
Our coverage included a thorough investigation of Shireen’s killing by Al Jazeera, which challenged Israel’s initial account that Palestinian gunfire could have killed journalist Shireen. This investigation was integral to setting the narrative straight across other media worldwide. As soon as Israeli forces attacked Palestinian mourners carrying Shireen's casket and tore down a Palestinian flag at Shireen’s funeral, we captured the devastating moment through the LIVE Broadcast feature, sharing it instantly with our audience to provide an insight into the reality of Palestinians' struggle even after death. This highlighted the vital importance of social media within journalism, guaranteeing that such events would not be forgotten and that the truth would be reported.
We used Twitter to share heartwarming, unfiltered moments from Shireen Abu Akleh's life through her family and friends, along with the unbridled support from both the Palestinian community and individuals worldwide who united to commemorate our beloved journalist's legacy. We also sought out expert opinions on Shireen’s killing, calling out the double standard in Western media coverage. Our mission was to uphold our journalistic integrity and honour our veteran journalist. Shireen Abu Akleh’s story went viral on Twitter, fostering important discussions on the platform on press freedom and stories of the occupation.
Our content strategy made it easy for our audience to stay informed with easily-digestible content.We utilised Twitter to its full potential, providing real-time updates through the daily LIVE threads and staying at the forefront of breaking news. Our LIVE threads featured a variety of content, such as breaking Al Jazeera LIVE broadcasts, in-depth articles, simplified infographics, native explainer videos, and live updates.
We also used Twitter Spaces to host insightful audio discussions with Shireen's longtime colleagues and activists who provided a deeper understanding of the disparities in coverage between Western media outlets and their treatment of Palestinian rights. Our coverage not only provided real-time information, but as events unfolded, we also advocated for justice on Shireen’s behalf.
Highest Engagement Days in 2022:
Beyond the record-breaking statistics, our coverage shed light on press freedom. We held Israel accountable for its response to the killing of our journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. We challenged Israeli authorities’ initial false claims and scrutinised the actions of those involved in the investigation as well as Israel’s disruption of Shireen’s funeral. Our approach to easily digestible content through Twitter, prevented Israel from evading responsibility for Shireen’s killing. Our strategy recognised the significance of engaging with global audiences by leveraging Twitter’s features. This experience has reaffirmed our commitment to hold those in power accountable for their actions through the collective strength of storytelling and we will continue to honour Shireen Abu Akleh’s legacy.