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
This is just too funny
exactly – its was a mistake, but laugh and move on – its not like these diagrams were realistic
It’s actually not funny. But it was a mistake and the editor did apologize for it and was willing to resign. But readers ‘moved on’ and are urging him not to resign.
I laughed when I saw it.
Whats funny is someone getting all upset about what amounts to these, or other, cartoons.
Note to Sepp Blatter: this is what you are meant to do when one or more of your staff screws up (no pun). You apologize for your failure of oversight and you offer to resign, since you, as the boss, are ultimately responsible.
You just got your wish 😉
Would Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” painting also cause such an uproar? There is a bare t**ty hanging out in the drawing after all.
This is ridiculous, haha. If it was that much of an eye sore (which I doubt), then just apologize and get on with it.
I am guessing the readers have never seen page 3 of the Sun
No, it is not ridiculous. We live in a very conservative society and this is not acceptable. We know newspapers in some Western countries are very open and these kind of photos are ok. It’s not here. No one accepts it. We actually have high moral standards 🙂
You do realize that mathaf have publicly announced their willingness to share art of this nature in Doha, right?
Except when it comes to the treatment of maids and laborers, fellow drivers on the roads, ANYone with less money than you….. OH Paleeeeeease Q.
Think positively….you’ve learned some new positions.
Do they practice the missionary position here? Would seem to go against the religion of choice.
The Sun is different from the say the Independent or NYT or the Houston Chronicles or Al Sharq
Ok so first time around I didn’t notice. Second time around if I squinted I could kind of make out what it was about – but then my eyes are old.
Deleting the rest of this thread because we’re a family-friendly publication 😛
And where do you think families come from? A stork?
Isn’t it obvious? 🙂
A pathetic storm in a teacup……only the most sexually repressed, the ones with their magnifying glasses out, full of false moral outrage, would take offence over this. The editor should stay; it’s not like he has any real editorial independence anyway.
I beg to differ, what does this have to do with sexual repression. Maybe not in most of Europe, but if a similar picture was in the daily papers of many U.S. Cities they would an out cry and sacking of staff at the paper
An explicit shot from a pornographic film perhaps, but a henna depiction of karma sutra on a pair of hands? I highly doubt it.
Ha….you’ve been here too long! Maybe in some local rag in a Midwest Hicksville kind of place, but this would be a total non-issue in most US papers…….
You heard about that Connecticut teacher sacked for reading a poem about homosexual love? The United States is full of people who would take offense to this.
The key difference is that in Qatar, it could get you jailed. In the U.S., it mostly just costs you your job. The root cause is the same.
Do you know or have you read the poem in question? Probably not. It’s not about homosexual love per se. More like homosexual sexual acts. It’s quite explicit and maybe not appropriate.
More explicit than the Kuma Sutra?!!
Stop asking silly questions and read it.
The origin of the dust-up? This is where it gets even more cynical. According to David Freelander:
The controversy began when one student in the class begged off a test in a different class the next day, claiming he (or she) couldn’t concentrate because of the reading of the poem. The story quickly blew up on social media in the town before the local press picked up on it and disciplinary proceedings began.
And there you have it. Academic freedom — and the career of a widely respected teacher — done in by a lazy student, social media moral panic, and CYA-obsessed school administrators. Per usual, our response to a “won’t someone think of the children” controversy was far more damaging to our children than anything Ginsberg could have possibly thought up.
Citing a liberal web sites rantings against conservatives shows one side. Not very balanced. I can honestly say I would probably not want that on my sons or daughters curriculum. Whether he should be fired for this mistake (my opinion) is another thing. And please the States needs no preaching from the arab world on conservatism.
Attacking the source of the information rather than debating the facts? You are familiar with the term “Adad hominem”, right!
Where in any of my comments here was I preaching? I shared an article that has the details of what happened (which you still seem unaware of), and that has a link to the poem itself. You did suggest that I read it, so I did.
Yes, I am an Arab and a Muslim, but I’m not the Arab world. I’m just as entitled to an opinion on these matters, as you seem to have on local matters, and especially locals. The difference being I don’t often make sweeping gross generalizations and jump to conclusions about Qatar and Qataris.
But we have already established that you really don’t like the taste of your own medicine, nor do you care to be made to look in the mirror and look at your own faults while pointing out those of others.
What faults did I make here? You’re citing a very liberal web site and I pointed that out. It’s like citing Al Jazeera on American Foreign Policy or Fox on the ME. The info may have come out because of some so called lazy student but the facts are that not all parents want their children, yes teenagers are our children, exposed to this in schools. And a liberal blogger rails against those who would oppose it. I’m sure some would have no problem but I’d say the majority would be against it. Free speech works both ways. I also have a right that my children don’t sit in a class listening to a graphic portrayal of homos-xual s-x acts. I’m not a homophobe just seems out of place. College OK but High School, No. You criticized, by quoting the story, american conservatism which I find ironic considering where we live in country and region. Conservatism to an extreme. You seem to take everything as a personal slam. Was not intended. For sure not in this case. But you do make generalizations about americans and american culture and values. Your cartoons are always so enjoyable.
There would certainly be an outcry in most European countries if such overtly sexual images were published in a daily newspaper. Europe has not quite sunk into the cesspit of depravity that more conservative countries imagine it has.
As much as I love Jabar Al harami and believe he is the only real objective editor in Doha.. Present company included… I think his resignation should have been accepted.. Not for the mistake but for the sake of Qatar in making a lesson and model that if the head of something screws up they step down and move on… Instead the usual “it’ll pass in two days.. Ppl will forget “
If it was for something more serious I would agree, but this is trivial compared to some of the screw ups in Doha, those ones where responsibility is thrown from one side to another like hot potato.
Let’s be honest for second here; do you really think anyone in the government, Qatar Foundation, Supreme Education Council, etc. would’ve even considered following his example? I think most of them would sooner die than admit to any wrong doing.
He only resigned because he thought he was going to be lynched by the board of directors and the public, not because he felt like it. I get your point about the lenient attitude on screw ups in Qatar, but if any ‘head of something’ should be resigning because they made mistakes, it is NOT this guy. I could think of a thousand people whos screw ups have a far more consequential and direct effect on the country and its population (most of them in the ministry of labor!).
I respect what you are saying but it does seem to me to be unnecessary. I think an apology & offer to resign would have served the purpose.
That said, my respect for this gentleman just went up tremendously and I wish him well.
As an example? He definitely is a good example of “responsibility.” Will he be followed? That is a totally different question.
Page 29… do people even read that far into newspapers these days… If it were on the Front Page, well, that would be a different story altogether.
I’m not one to question local values wherever I go unless those values trample the rights of others. This is not the case here and despite what most of you might think of the reason behind it, I applaud the response of the editor. It’s uncommon to see someone assuming responsibility in a mature way and this comes as a breath of fresh air. His lesson is more important than any newspaper, message or pressure. I’m convinced such a man won’t have trouble finding something else. You might not like the task, you might not like the message, but at least appreciate his message which hopefully is true and not coerced.
Just imagine for a second if government officials did the same after things like the Villagio fire, or the poor Indian kid that fell down a manhole and died. We can always dream.
he took responsibility and resigned with dignity, great role model
Oh yeah. He resigned because of images from a book that was written almost 2,000 years ago. What’s next: terminating people that publish fotos of cave art from 3,000 years ago? Seriously I don’t find this image offensive at all. It is misplaced and that happens from time to time. Have they ever been to a British Newsstand?
very clever name 😉
can someone send this article to the British tabloids..specifically the murdoch press..hint hint!
It’s not for me to say, i would not have been offended..i had to squint and squint and still i could hardly see anything that was offensive but someone did and the Man took responsibility and did the honourable thing. Well done. I hope his newspaper gives him a smack on the wrist and allows him to stay on.
Perhaps he was telling the story as it was and right from the ancient story books
Shouldn’t be hiring non-Muslims who not all but many deep inside dislike Islam and indirectly through the Arab media channels who hire mostly the kafirs spread mischief. For example the gulf paper of UAE which was recognized by Sheikh Ahmed Deedat in one of his lectures to spread fassad and be against Muslims and Islam because most people working under the top management were mostly non-Muslims although the owner was a Muslim. This also might have been done intentionally, shaitan works hard in many ways.