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The New York Times changes its factually correct headline on Al Jazeera journalist’s death in West Bank after outrage

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead during a gunfight between Israeli and Palestinian forces, but NYT report had said she died, causing outrage

On Wednesday, Shireen Abu Akleh (51), a senior journalist at Al Jazeera, was shot dead amid gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. The New York Times reported the incident profiling the journalist with a title, “Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Dies at 51.” The headline didn’t reflect that the journalist was killed by gunshot while covering a conflict, causing an outrage. Therefore, the news agency was forced to change the headline after netizens, mostly Palestinians or Palestine supporters, objected to it, pointing out that she was shot dead. The netizens also alleged that she was shot by Israel Defence Forces.

Earlier NYT News article on Shireen Abu Akleh’s death

Soon after the death of Shireen Abu Akleh in a shooting in the West Bank, her employer Al Jazeera in consonance with the Palestinian National Authority (PA) was quick to hold the Israeli government responsible for the killing of the American-Palestinian Journalist. However, The Israeli authorities have denied the allegations. The Israeli Foreign Ministry further stated that the initial investigation of the event revealed that the journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen.

While the air around Abu Alekh’s death is not clear yet, Palestine sympathizers have already started blaming Israel for the Journalist’s death. Calling Abu Akleh’s death a heinous crime, the Qatar-based news organisation said, “We hold the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of the late colleague Shireen”. The statement also called on the international community to hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their ‘intentional targeting and killing’ of Abu Akleh.

Many including Bassam Khwaja, Co-director at the Human Rights and Privatization Project at NYU said that the NYT report on the journalist’s death reads like an obituary headline. Soon, reactions poured on Twitter with users trying to claim that it was the Israeli side which killed the journalist. Abu Alekh, on Wednesday, was reporting on a raid in the city of Jenin which escalated into gunfighting between the Israel and Palestine sides.

Screengrab of the Tweet from @4noura
Screengrab of the Tweet from @monicabyrne13

After the backlash, The New York times decided to change the headline for its piece to “Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist Is Killed in West Bank,” with the insertion of ‘killed’ in the title. While it was known that the journalist was shot dead, either deliberately or mistakenly, either by Palestinians of by Israelis, it is strange that NYT chose to omit it from the headline that she was killed by a bullet.

Edited NYT News article on Shireen Abu Akleh’s death after outrage on the Internet

New York Times has a history of toning down conflict reports, and often omit crucial details while reporting on terrorism related events. For example, in a 2019 article, the paper had written that the twin towers were taken by aeroplanes on 9/11, choosing to not mention that those aeroplanes were piloted by trained terrorists. The NYT often blames guns, knifes, cars etc for killing and hurting people, not the actual perpetuators behind the attacks.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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