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Reporters with terrorists? The presence of photojournalists raises the question of the ethics of AP and Reuters

It is being speculated if they coordinated with the terror outfit and if the wire services, including the Associated Press and Reuters, approved their presence alongside terrorist infiltrators.

Shocking details of the 7th October terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel have come to light as it was found that photojournalists from the Associated Press (AP), CNN, Reuters and others were conveniently present at the Israel-Gaza border to “live report” the terror attack. Experts have raised the question of whether the photojournalists involved had prior information about the attack that killed over 1,300 Israelis and foreign nationals. Furthermore, journalism ethics are at stake as it raised suspicion that the photojournalists could have been coordinating with the Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas.

Photojournalists were at the border on a Saturday that was supposed to be quiet. It is being speculated if they coordinated with the terror outfit and if the wire services, including the Associated Press and Reuters, approved their presence alongside terrorist infiltrators. Moreover, it is being questioned if they had informed other media outlets like the New York Times and CNN about their company in the middle of the most brutal terrorist attack.

The report by Honest Reporting has highlighted some specific instances. For example, a freelance journalist identified as Hassan Eslaiah, who works for CNN, was seen capturing photographs from inside Israel without wearing any press identification. It is implausible for a photojournalist to enter a war zone without an identification jacket as it puts his or her life in danger. Without the identification jacket, the question arises if the terrorists were aware of his identity.

Screenshots of his now-deleted tweets were shared in the report, where he was seen documenting himself near an Israeli tank. Interestingly, an older photograph of Eslaiah surfaced following the controversy where he was caught with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

The report also discussed other photojournalists such as Yousef Masoud, who works for the New York Times, and Ali Mahmud and Hatem Ali, who captured photos of abduction of Israelis by Hamas terrorists. Notably, some of the photos were removed from the AP database, raising the question of whether there were concerns over journalistic ethics among the management.

In the reports published by wire agencies, there were photographs depicting a burning Israeli tank and a lynch mob brutalising an Israeli soldier. These photographs were clicked by photojournalists Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and Yasser Qudih. Shockingly, the report alleged the photograph of lynching was mentioned as the “photograph of the day” by Reuters editors in the editorial database. OpIndia could not independently verify the claim of marking the image as the “image of the day”.

‘They were doing their job’ excuse does not work

There is a possibility that the wire agencies and media houses will give an excuse that their photojournalists were just “doing their job” by covering the terrorist attack on Israel. However, “doing their job” does not include possibly hiding prior information about a terrorist attack. Their presence at the scene right at the time of the terrorist attack raises serious questions about the ethics they followed. Furthermore, photographing terrorists while they were mutilating bodies and lynching soldiers is not what is expected from photojournalists.

Taking the example of doing the job, we can talk about the tragic Bhopal Gas Tragedy, after which famous veteran photojournalist Raghu Rai went to Bhopal and documented the atrocities the people of Bhopal faced. It was his job, and he did it with a straight face. Because of Raghu Rai, we know how far the damage went due to the gas leak.

However, “doing the job” would not be an excuse in the case of “journalists” who live telecasted from Kargil during the India-Pakistan war or from Mumbai during the 26/11 terror attack. In both cases, the Pakistani Army and terrorists got information about the locations of our soldiers, and we lost precious lives.

The wire agency and media houses are responsible for drawing the line. The responsibility also falls on the shoulders of the photojournalists responsible for bringing out the reports without any bias. It is also the duty of journalists to inform law enforcement agencies if they get a tip of a possible terror attack. Hiding the information just to get a story before everyone else not only put hundreds of lives in jeopardy but also put the journalists and photojournalists on the wrong side of the law.

Israel-Hamas war

On 7th October, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched a terror attack on Israel, killing almost 1,300 Israelis and foreign nationals. They abducted around 200 people and took them to Gaza. In response, Israel declared war against Hamas, aiming to wipe out the terrorist organisation from the face of the earth. Since then, Israel has bombed Hamas locations in Gaza for around a month and initiated ground response as well. So far, around 10,000 people have been killed in the war. Israel has repeatedly asked Palestinians to evacuate Gaza for their safety. On 9th November, the Israel-Hamas war entered its 33rd day.

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Searched termsIsrael Hamas war
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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