After one months long battle between IGN editorial and management, an article on how to contribute to previously removed Palestinian aid groups, has finally been republished, albeit with some modifications.
A long note attached to the top of the post on behalf of IGN the editors describe some of the process behind why it was originally removed and how it has been restored. It also announces a revised policy for article corrections, updates, and removals, stating that “more formal processes” are in place to ensure editorial leadership is involved in the publication and occasional revisions of stories on “sensitive topics.”
“An IGN Employee councils, following advice from a third-party ombudsman and management, agree that the position required adjustments to be more culturally conscientious towards our employees and the audience’s potential reading, it is stated in part of the note. “We apologize for the inconvenience of publishing without these adjustments, and realize that our processes failed us. We also agree that instead of taking down the position, we should have updated the post. ”
IGN, one of the largest gaming and entertainment news sites in the world, originally published May 14 below the last wave of violence as a result of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine. The article, which shared links to charities that interested readers could donate to, was followed by calls for action on other gaming sites including GameSpot, Game Informer (since deleted), and here at Kotaku.
May 16, after a now deleted Instagram posts from IGN Israel prejudices IGN US history, IGN took down his fundraising history, as well as the tweet that promotes it.
May 17, IGN posted a statement on Twitter, allegedly on behalf of everyone in the company and said: “By marking only one population, the post left a false impression that we were politically in line with one side. It was not our intention and we sincerely apologize for the mistake.”
According to Vice, this led to a meeting later that day where “pissed off” editorial staff confronted the management about the removal of the article and issued a statement on their behalf without allegedly consulting them about it.
The clear breach of editorial independence eventually led to members of IGN editorial publish an open letter to Medium, signed by over 60 staff, and criticized the management for their involvement and called for the restoration of the collection post in Palestine and a meeting for all to discuss what had happened. Less than two weeks later, Peer Schneider, IGN main content manager and site co-founder, sent a note to staff has allegedly taken sole responsibility for taking down the position and said that it was “an editorial process error for the post to be live in the first place.”
The recently published version of the article makes several changes, including the removal of the very first word from original version, which was “Palestinian”. The beginning now reads: “Civilians are currently suffering in large numbers in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.” It now also cites 12 Israeli deaths in addition to 230 in Gaza. The title of the post has been changed from “How to help Palestine” to “A resolution and new IGN Guidelines, ”even if the URL still contains the original title.
It is still unclear why it was an “editorial process error” for the post to go up in the first place, or why it took three months before it was restored. IGN did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Going forward, the company’s updated removal guidelines state that it will only remove posts in “very rare cases”, and even then all removed posts will be replaced with an editorial note explaining that the content has been removed and giving a reason why when it is legally allowed for does. The policy also confirms IGN the editorial board’s autonomy, and states that content decisions “are only made by our editorial staff, and that our coverage remains unaffected by external sources or financial considerations.”