One of Qatar’s most well-known and respected editors has resigned after his newspaper unintentionally published a sexually explicit photo alongside a story about henna tattoos.
Jaber Al Harmi, editor-in-chief of Al Sharq, announced his departure on Twitter yesterday afternoon, in response to a growing online furor about the photo, which appeared on page 29 of yesterday’s daily.
The article contained health warnings about the use of certain types of henna.
It was accompanied by a stock image that showed a woman’s palms decorated with henna designs illustrating various sexual positions from the ancient Indian sex manual Kama Sutra.
In an apology published on the front page of today’s Al Sharq, Al Harmi called the mistake “the worst” he’s seen in his 25-year journalism career. He continued:
“I take full responsibility in front of God before everything and in front of Qatar, the country and people…
This painful incident has shown us, how much the people of our society hold on to religion, values and ethics and that is something delightful.”
In response to the situation, Al Sharq has fired the journalist who published the photo.
Additionally, the journalist’s direct supervisor has been warned and fined part of his salary, and stricter editing measures are being implemented to ensure such mistakes do not happen again, the apology states.
News of Al Jaber’s pending exit was met with dismay by hundreds on Twitter yesterday.
Under the hashtag #الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة (Al Harmi your resignation is rejected), dozens of people expressed support for the editor, saying:
Translation: Jaber Al Harmi is one of Qatar’s pyramids who we cherish. His brave step should be met with a more courageous one, (which is) rejecting his resignation.
استقالة الاستاذ جابر
دليل انه شخصية امينة
تتحمل مسئولياتها بشجاعة
وتقدر الامور حق قدرها
وقد استطاع عمل نقلة بالصحيفة#الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة
— فيصل بن جاسم ال ثاني (@althani_faisal) June 1, 2015
Translation: Your resignation Mr. Jaber shows that you are a person who has integrity, bravely takes responsibility, has a good estimation of matters and has made a difference in the newspaper.
الصحافة مهنة حساسة سلبًا و إيجابًا لأنها تعتمد على السبق و التميز مما يتسبب في أخطاء غير مقصودة أحيانًا.#الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة
— جواهر بنت عبدالله آل ثاني 🇶🇦 (@JawaherAKH) June 1, 2015
Translation: Journalism is a sensitive occupation both in a positive and negative way, because it depends on scoops and distinction, which can sometimes lead to unintentional mistakes.
For now, it remains unclear if Al Harmi will actually be leaving the newspaper, which omitted any mention of his resignation in today’s apology letter.
According to the editor’s son, the board of directors has rejected Al Harmi’s offer to quit, and his name continued to appear in Al Sharq’s masthead today.
تم رفض استقالة جابر الحرمي من قبل مجلس الادارة. نعم القرار 👍🏼#الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة
— سالم جابر الحرمي (@SalemAlharmi) June 1, 2015