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UK: Ofcom suspends its Zim-born director over anti-Israel posts

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By BBC News


Ofcom’s online safety supervision director has been suspended after anti-Israel comments were posted on her Instagram account.

Fadzai Madzingira’s private account posted messages after the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.

The Guido Fawkes website posted screengrabs of what appear to be posts from her account. One described Israel as an “apartheid state”.

Ofcom confirmed the suspension, “pending further investigation”.

In another post published on Guido Fawkes, Ms Madzingira appeared to like a post calling Israel and the UK a “vile colonial alliance”.

In a post published on Instagram Stories, she describes herself as a “Zimbabwean, a Black feminist, a student of decolonisation and a deep believer of liberty for all”, saying she has “one hope” before posting a Palestinian flag emoji.

The war between Israel and Gaza, which began last weekend, has killed more than 2,700 people in Gaza and over 1,400 Israelis.

On Monday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told MPs that at least six Britons had been killed and 10 others were missing, including two teenage sisters.

After the prime minister’s statement – where he announced another £10m in aid to the Palestinian people – Conservative MP Sir William Cash called on the media watchdog to deal with the reports as a matter of impartiality.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir William asked: “Will the Attorney General be asked to provide a legal note, if not a full opinion, given for example that one of Ofcom’s directors… is reported to be supporting posts, this week itself, arguing that the Government’s support for Israel is a vile colonial alliance, referring to ethnic cleansing, and genocide of Palestinians?

“Ofcom must surely be told that it must deal with this at once as a matter of impartiality, quite apart from any criminal action that may be needed under terrorist or criminal law,” Sir William added.

Rishi Sunak said he would ensure the attorney general looks into it, adding that he endorsed “those describing these attacks calling them what they are, which are attacks of terror by a terrorist organisation”.

Ofcom’s code of practice says that comments – including social media posts – which might have an adverse affect on Ofcom’s reputation and comments on Ofcom policy “should be avoided”.

Fadzai Madzingira was appointed by Ofcom in June, joining from US cloud-based software company Salesforce.