CityNews Toronto makes a change following CJPME letter

On April 26, 2024, CJPME sent a letter to CityNews Toronto, pushing the media outlet to make changes regarding an article about MPP Sarah Jama being asked to leave the Ontario legislature for defying the keffiyeh ban.

CJPME wrote that the article did not provide an adequate description of the keffiyeh’s historical and cultural significance for Palestinians among other things.

CJPME took an issue with one sentence, among others, of CityNews describing the keffiyeh as “a black and white checkered scarf.” CJPME argued that “checkered scarf” and “Black-and-white scarves” are terms extensively used in racist contexts on social media, such as Twitter (formerly X). CJPME also suggested and included an accurate description of the keffiyeh.

CJPME, among other things, asked CityNews to update the “black and white checkered scarf” to simply “keffiyeh,” as it can be deeply offensive to Palestinians and their allies to use reductive terms to allude to the keffiyeh.

Following our letter, CityNews changed the words “black and white checkered scarf” to “keffiyeh” as requested.

While other issues were not acknowledged by CityNews, such as referring to the keffiyeh as “the scarf” and “cultural cloth,” it is encouraging that CityNews will change the most problematic reference to the keffiyeh to the suggested edit. It can serve as a precedent to challenge other media outlets using the same descriptors.