A Kenyan journalist based in the United States has come out to narrate how two tweets he shared in 2014 came to haunt and cost him his dream job last month.
Idris Muktar Ibrahim was a producer with CNN International, based in the network’s headquarters in Atlanta and working on stories from all around the globe.
In a piece published by Saturday Nation, Ibrahim shares how he grew from a young boy in Korogocho slums in Nairobi, to living his dream life in the US.
Ibrahim gained a footing in journalism as a 19-year-old undergraduate on scholarship at the United States International University – Africa. He says he was inspired to take up the profession after meeting a reporter on assignment in their slum.
In 2020, he joined Deutsche Welle as a junior correspondent for East Africa, after which he got another scholarship, this time to the University of California, Berkeley, to pursue a Journalism and Documentary Master's programme.
After graduating in May this year, he was offered a job by CNN as Newsdesk Producer on the network's international desk.
By this time, Muktar was a Mastercard and Human Rights Center fellow, and a recipient of the Foreign Correspondent Award.
Trouble began with a story he contributed to about the Israeli elections, when a pro-Israeli media watchdog, Honest Reporting, decided to investigate him.
“They dug deep into my tweets from when I was still a teen in the slums in July 2014 and found two that were, in my opinion, wholly abhorrent and unacceptable,” says Muktar.
In one of the tweets brought forth by the organisation, Muktar supported Germany’s Bayern Munich, and seemed to be in support of Adolf Hitler.
“I have shifted to team Germany after finding out that Messi supports Israel #teamHitler,” reads the tweet sent on July 13, 2014.
“Modern day freedpm [sic] fighters, they definding [sic] their land. Yes they are entitled to their armed struggle,” he said in the other.
According to Muktar, the organisation called his employer, calling for his firing. The broadcaster complied.