May 17, 2021 - Technology

IGN employees press bosses to restore deleted article on Palestinian relief

A screenshot of the now-deleted post via the Wayback Machine.

A group of editorial employees at gaming outlet IGN is calling for corporate management to restore a deleted article that had urged support for the Palestinians.

Why it matters: The controversy over an unexpected public plea for Palestinian relief from the world's biggest video game media outlet has now become a dispute over the limits of editorial freedom.

  • The letter, signed by more than 60 current IGN staffers, was sent to upper management at IGN and parent companies J2 Global and Ziff Davis on Monday afternoon. It called for accountability regarding the post's deletion, which angered staff.

What they're saying: "[T]his was a clear instance of corporate overreach and demonstrated blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence," the letter states.

  • The letter also states that the article's removal on Saturday without public explanation was "against our usual policy."
  • The deletion of articles for any news organization is a fraught process, often testing the expected wall between editorial and business interests.
  • Representatives from IGN parent company Ziff Davis have not responded to Axios' requests for comment about this situation.

Between the lines: On Friday, IGN published an article headlined "How To Help Palestinian Civilians," which described suffering by Palestinians "due to Israeli forces" before listing charities to provide relief aid to Palestinians.

  • Initial response from readers on social media appeared to be positive, but, in a now-deleted post, licensed affiliate IGN Israel called the post "misleading."
  • The IGN article was first altered on Saturday to remove the image of a Palestinian flag, and it was deleted without comment early on Sunday.
  • At 2:21 am ET on Monday morning, IGN's twitter feed posted an unsigned statement that noted, in part, that "[b]y highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side."

The staff letter calls for the deleted article to be restored, potentially incorporating feedback from management.

  • It also says the people who deleted the post should "accept that responsibility publicly."
  • The letter says the article had been pulled by "upper management," not by editorial staff.

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