The Israeli government contacted major media outlets on Thursday after a report by HonestReporting.com revealed that photojournalists employed by these outlets were present with Hamas terrorists during an attack in Israel where civilians were killed….reports Asian Lite News
After the Israeli government demanded answers from four major news outlets about having prior knowledge of the October 7 Hamas attack, the organisations have denied that they knew of the massive assault beforehand.
On Thursday, the Israeli government contacted The New York Times, CNN, Associated Press (AP) and Reuters after an Israeli media watchdog, HonestReporting.com, brought out details regarding photojournalists employed by these outlets had been with Hamas terrorists when they swarmed into Israel and massacred civilians.
“These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a post on X.
“Overnight the GPO (Government Press Office) issued an urgent letter to the bureau chiefs of the media organizations that employed these photographers and sought clarifications on the matter. The National Public Diplomacy Directorate demands that immediate action be taken.
“The National Public Diplomacy Directorate in the PMO views with utmost gravity that photojournalists working with international media joined in covering the brutal acts of murder perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7th in the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip,” the post read.
In response, the four outlets published statements strongly pushing back against the report published by HonestReporting.com.
The AP and CNN, said they had severed ties with the freelance photographer Hassan Eslaiah after he was identified in the report as having been present with Hamas militants during the attack.
“The Associated Press had no knowledge of the October 7 attacks before they happened,” Lauren Easton, the director of media relations for the Associated Press, said in a statement on Thursday night.
“The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time.”
“We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza,” Easton added.
In a statement, CNN said Eslaiah was not working for the network on the day of the attack.
“We had no prior knowledge of the October 7th attack. Hassan Eslaiah, who was a freelance journalist working for us and many other outlets, was not working for the network on October 7th. As of today, we have severed all ties with hims,” a CNN spokesperson said
On its part, a Reuters spokesperson said ththe news agency “categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on October 7”.
“The photographs published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border.
“Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the HonestReporting article,” the spokesperson added.
The New York Times also issued a statement about accusations made against another freelance photographer, Yousef Massoud, who was mentioned in HonestReporting’s report.
“Though Yousef was not working for The Times on the day of the attack, he has since done important work for us,” the company said.
“There is no evidence for Honest Reporting’s insinuations. Our review of his work shows that he was doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded.”