Can you guess what’s different about the Arabic Huffington Post?
Internet news outlet Huffington Post has branched out into Arabic – and the new offshoot has come under fire for its surprisingly anti-gay stance.
The liberal US news outlet has struck a decidedly gay-friendly tone in English, launching ‘HuffPost Gay Voices’ to focus on LGBT issues.
However, things are rather less open on its Arabic offshoot, Huffington Post Arabia, which launched in July.
Buzzfeed notes that the site instead takes a surprisingly hardline stance – with one columnist naming the selfie as a symptom of “the diseases and the viruses of the Western world” seeping onto Arabic culture.
Meanwhile, in a second column, an Egyptian columnist savaged the government for allowing “a press conference for gays in the heart of Cairo”, referring to gay people using derogatory words.
It has since been pulled from the site, which now states: “This blog should not have been published as it contradicts the Huffington Post’s editorial positions and guidelines which are based on encouraging positive dialogue and mutual respect. It has therefore been taken down.”
Commentators have been quick to condemn the offshoot, tweeting: “With this homophobic, vitriolic post esp @HuffingtonPost has let its Arabic site disgrace its brand.
Another added: “It is such a disappointment how @HuffPostArabi turned to be.”
Huffington Post’s executive international editor Nicholas Sabloff told Buzzfeed that the selfie article was “one opinion expressed by one blogger”, adding that “the views on the blog do not reflect HuffPost’s global editorial viewpoint, nor the viewpoint of our HuffPost Arabi editors.”
He continued: “In a region where the media landscape is polarized, we are trying to create a space where a diversity of perspectives can co-exist.
“Given the upheaval the region is experiencing, it is likely that articles which have a strong perspective or opinion may upset one group or another. But we want HuffPost Arabi to provide diversity and balance as a site.”