A JOURNALIST sacked from a leading Arab news channel says she was dumped for following up Australian media reports stemming from a near miss involving an Emirates Airlines jet at Melbourne airport last year.
American journalist Courtney Radsch wrote a report that mentioned the incident -- in which an Emirates jet almost failed to take off due to incorrect payload data -- and subsequent safety concerns for Al Arabiya's English site.
Her article drew on a Sunday Herald Sun story revealing that Emirates pilots complained about fatigue to air safety authorities months before the near disaster.
Radsch, who was the associate editor of the site, said she immediately came under internal pressure from management at the Dubai-based channel to withdraw the article. "One of the heads of the channel came over and said that this article was causing problems and it needed to be taken down," she said.
"I said to them: `There is supposed to be a separation between editorial and business' and they kind of laughed it off," she said.
"In the end my colleagues were urging me to take the story off. It wasn't worth going to jail for or being fined thousands of dollars for, so I decided that if Al Arabiya wasn't going to stand up for the story then I wasn't either."
She said new media laws in Dubai meant journalists could be imprisoned or fined for writing stories that had on impact on Dubai's economy.
Despite taking the article down, Radsch was then told she had lost her position due to a "restructure". She believes it was actually as a result of pressure from Emirates over the story.
An Emirates spokesman denied the claim, saying: "Emirates does not interfere with the operations of Al Arabiya."
The airline's Australian-based public relations firm -- PPR -- also supplied a statement the airline released following Radsch's report, claiming inaccuracies.
Al Arabiya did not respond to requests for comment.