HuffPost Arabi has a rocky start with content too conservative for Huffington Post

Published August 10th, 2015 - 07:29 GMT
HuffPost's CEO Ariana Huffington partnered with Wadah Khanfar from al-Jazeera Network to create a new Arabic site. (AFP/Sven Hoppe)
HuffPost's CEO Ariana Huffington partnered with Wadah Khanfar from al-Jazeera Network to create a new Arabic site. (AFP/Sven Hoppe)

Huffington Post's newly launched Arabic website is having some growing pains.

Arabs were quick to criticize the news outlet that quickly seemed to fall into conservative categories typical of Arabic media; many were disappointed with what it became. The few articles Arabic speakers picked up effectively transformed the new Arabic outlet's image into everything Huffington Post is not.

An example? The website recently published an op-ed against selfies, describing them as symptoms of “the viruses of the Western world,” BuzzFeed reported.


The English parent company picked up on the difference in values; the homophobic article that sparked outrage on social media was deleted shortly afterward.  

Some say it's the leadership for the Arabic site that was the wrong move. HuffPost Arabi's Wadah Khanfar was the former director general of al-Jazeera Network, the Qatar-owned channel known for having biases toward Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

But some challenged claims the site had an ultraconservative Islamic agenda, and said opposing viewpoints just opened up channels for dialogue.

It's not the first time HuffPost faces criticism for falling on the wrong end of the political spectrum. Ironically, the US company typically gets flack for invalidating conservative opinions. HuffPost recently sparked debate with its controversial move to post all Donald Trump coverage in the "entertainment" section instead of "news," despite the fact that the man is leading in GOP polls as a popular presidential candidate.

When HuffPost Arabi launched, Khanfar's statement seemed to want diversity in its content and wrote: "The Arab media is in dire need of diversity and credibility. We commit to these principles through our editorial policies, carried out by our team of professionals hailing from a range of backgrounds and experiences."

Whether he’ll put that into practice is the question. 

Regardless of where you stand, it's pretty safe to agree HuffPost Arabi's goals should be to include diverse perspectives. That includes, of course, liberal ones.

By Hayat Norimine

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