MIDDLE EAST 09.11.23 15:57
The pro-Israel Observatory HonestReporting raises questions about how the photojournalists found themselves in the area already in the first hours of the Hamas attack.
Questions about how the international news agencies Associated Press and Reuters obtained photos of the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 are being asked by the HonestReporting Observatory, which monitors the media for bias in the current Hamas-Israel conflict.
In its report yesterday, HonestReporting questions whether the agency’s partners knew about the massacre by Hamas and thus had such immediate photos of the invasion, the kidnappings and the burning Israeli tanks.
The Observatory specifically refers to four photojournalists, whose names appear in the credits of many photos from the events of October 7. They are Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.
In fact, for one of them, Hassan Eslaiah, HonestReporting emphasizes that he has acquaintances with the leadership of Hamas, republishing a photo of him with the commander of the militant Palestinian organization and alleged mastermind of the attack, Yahya Sinwar.
HonestReporting comments that “some of their atrocities were captured by Gaza-based photojournalists working for the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies, whose early-morning presence in the breached border region raises serious ethical questions.”
“What were they doing there so early on a quiet Saturday morning? Was it coordinated with Hamas? Did the respectable network services that published their photos approve of their presence in enemy territory, along with the terrorist invaders? Did photojournalists who freelance for other media outlets, such as CNN and the New York Times, notify those outlets? Judging by the photos of the lynching, kidnapping and invasion of an Israeli kibbutz, it appears that the border has been breached not only physically, but also journalistically,” reports HonestReporting.
The agencies deny it
Reuters today denied any suggestion that it had advance knowledge of the October 7 Hamas attack.
“We are aware of the report by HonestReporting and the allegations made against two photographers who participated in Reuters’ coverage of the October 7 attack. Reuters vehemently denies that it knew in advance of the attack or that it had inducted its journalists into the ranks of Hamas on October 7. Reuters obtained photos from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of October 7 and with whom it had no previous work. The pictures published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets over Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border. Reuters reporters were not on the ground at the locations mentioned in the HonestReporting article.”
A spokesman for the Associated Press, cited by the Daily Wire, denied any prior knowledge of the attack. “The Associated Press didn’t know about the October 7th attacks before they happened,” said Nicole Meir. “AP’s role is to collect information about emergency events around the world, wherever they happen, even when those events are horrific and cause mass casualties. The AP uses images taken by freelancers around the world, including in Gaza.”
According to Ynet News, CNN decided to cut ties with Eslaiah despite not finding “any reason to question the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us.”