According to Politico, the Israeli government’s press office director, Nitzan Chen, wrote to the Israel bureau chiefs of the news outlets asking for clarification about photographers. The letter accused the photojournalists of working “alongside Hamas terrorists, documenting the murder of Israeli civilians, lynching of soldier and kidnappings to Gaza” and asked for a response regarding “disturbing findings,” the report said. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office referred to the freelancers as “accomplices in crimes against humanity.”
מחבלים בתחפושת של עיתונאים? דרשתי הבהרות מיידיות מגופי התקשורת הבינ”ל שפורסמו בתחקיר. כל מי שהשתתף, תמך או שמר על קשר של שתיקה ואיפשר את הטבח בעוטף, דינו כמו כל מחבל בעזה.@CNN @Rueters @nytimes @AP pic.twitter.com/WQ3kq3dTg1— 🇮🇱שלמה קרעי – Shlomo Karhi (@shlomo_karhi) November 9, 2023
Retired Israeli Gen. Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s war Cabinet, said the journalists who were there at the massacre and “still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered — are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such.”
These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics.— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) November 9, 2023
On Thursday, Reuters, AP, CNN and the Times vehemently denied any prior knowledge of the attacks and rejected the allegations against their freelancers. Reuters that it had acquired photos from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of October 7 and with whom they did not have a prior relationship. They specified that their staff journalists were not on the ground during the attacks. They added that the photographs they published were taken after Israel reported gunmen crossing the border. The AP also denied any prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks, according to CNN, saying the first pictures it received from freelancers were taken more than an hour after the attacks had begun. The wire service also announced that it was “no longer working with” Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photographer named in the Honest Reporting article who has been photographed being kissed by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
Journalists found to have known about the massacre, and still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered – are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such.— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) November 9, 2023
The Times described the accusations as “untrue and outrageous” and emphasized the essential role of freelance photojournalists in conflict zones, defending its dedication to providing firsthand witness accounts and documenting crucial news. It said Yousef Masoud, one of the other journalists accused in the Honest Reporting article, “was not working for The Times on the day of the attack” but had done “important work” for the newspaper in the past. A CNN representative also denied any prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks and said Eslaiah was “not working for the network on October 7th.” The network also announced the termination of its ties with Eslaiah. The media, often referred to as the “fourth estate,” plays a crucial role in democracy as a watchdog of the government and other powerful institutions. However, the allegations that journalists had prior knowledge of Hamas’ heinous attacks raise the age-old question: Who is watching the watchers? The denials from the media outlets do not answer the central question: What were these journalists doing with Hamas as the attacks on Israel kicked off? [firefly_poll] Even if the allegations of direct complicity are unfounded, there are legitimate concerns about ethical lapses or willful ignorance for the sake of a story. The public relies on journalists to report truthfully without political motivations, but those lines have blurred beyond recognition in recent times. Once-sacrosanct ethical boundaries between journalism and activism are now hazy and ill-defined. Objectivity has been sacrificed for ideological motives across the media landscape, undermining credibility. As this story unfolds, it’s another nail in the coffin of the public’s trust in legacy media.
And here is footage of Eslaiah after he crossed into Israel and took photos of a burning Israeli tank. He then captured infiltrators entering Kibbutz Kfar Azza.Note that he is not identifiable as a member of the press. But AP & CNN deemed it acceptable to use his services. pic.twitter.com/fA0VI2df2i — HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 8, 2023
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.