Organization denounces journalists' involvement with HamasOrganization denounces journalists' involvement with Hamas

A report by HonestReporting highlights the links of at least one photojournalist with the terrorist group and questions the ethics of international media outlets for hiring the services of other professionals who violated borders and photographed lynchings and kidnappings of Israelis just as the Hamas attack began.

The media monitoring organization HonestReporting, which works to expose anti-Israel bias in the foreign press, published an investigative report on Wednesday (8) that questions the presence of photojournalists from major media outlets, such as the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, The New York Times and CNN, on the border with Gaza just as Hamas invaded and the terrorist group carried out massacres on October 7.

The main questions raised were whether the photographers had prior knowledge of the intention to carry out the massacre and how they got there so quickly. Had Hamas allowed them to be there? Did the reporters have approval to enter Israel alongside the terrorists? Did the photographers inform their editors that they were accompanying the terrorists during the attacks on Israelis? “Judging by the images of lynching, kidnapping and invasion of an Israeli kibbutz, it appears that the border was violated not only physically, but also journalistically,” the report says.

The most striking case is Hassan Eslaiah, a freelancer who produced images for AP and CNN. He crossed the border from Gaza into Israel, took pictures of a burning Israeli tank and then made images of infiltrators entering Kibbutz Kfar Aza. In posts on his X account (formerly Twitter) that were later deleted, Eslaiah filmed himself in front of the tank without wearing a helmet and press identification vest. Shortly after the article was published on the HonestReporting website, a photo also surfaced showing Eslaiah with Hamas leader and mastermind of the October 7 massacre, Yahya Sinwar.

Other journalists were also positioned to take pictures of the atrocities carried out by Hamas. This is the case of Ali Mahmud, from AP, who captured the image of a truck carrying the body of German-Israeli Shani Louk, who was brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists. Reuters published photos of two photojournalists who were also at the border just in time for the Hamas infiltration: Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and Yasser Qudih. Both took pictures of a burning Israeli tank on the Israeli side of the border, but Mostafa also took a picture of a crowd lynching the body of an Israeli soldier who had been dragged out of the tank. This photo was featured on the Reuters website as the “Image of the Day”.

“It is obvious now that Hamas planned its October 7 attack on Israel for a long time: its scale, its brutal aims and its huge documentation were prepared for months, if not years. Everything was taken into account – the unfolding events, the timing, as well as the use of body cameras and cell phone videos to share the atrocities,” says HonestReporting.

According to André Lajst, political scientist and CEO of StandWithUs Brasil, “this is a scandal, an absurdity. The role of the press is fundamental in times of war to bring qualified and verified information to the population around the world, but it is assumed that journalists who transmit this information need to report the facts as they are and in a completely transparent way – and what we saw in these cases presented by HonestReporting was the exact opposite, totally lacking in journalistic ethics.”

Following the organization’s complaint, two news outlets spoke out. “Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we incorporated journalists into Hamas on October 7,” said the news agency. A spokeswoman for the Associated Press said that AP had no prior knowledge of the October 7 attack and justified it by saying that “AP’s role is to capture news and images of events happening around the world, at any time, even if they are terrible and involve casualties. AP uses photos by freelancers from all over the world, including Gaza”.

According to Lajst, if it is true that the news agencies were unaware that their collaborators would be “witnessing the massacre” without first notifying the authorities, at the very least they should not have bought or used the images of these collaborators. “Who did they collaborate with? In my opinion, their collaboration was with the terrorists themselves,” he says.

The National Directorate for Public Diplomacy in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said that it “views with the utmost gravity that photojournalists working with the international media joined in covering the brutal acts of murder perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7 in communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”

“These journalists were complicit in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics,” said the directorate. “The Government Press Office (GPO) issued an urgent letter to the heads of the media outlets that hired these photographers and asked for clarification on the matter. The National Directorate of Public Diplomacy demands that immediate action be taken.”

Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi contacted CNN, Reuters, The New York Times and AP on Thursday (9) in light of the report, saying: “The gravity of the situation demands a swift and thorough response. Now is a time for individuals, journalists, institutions, unions and organizations around the world to make a clear choice. We must decide whether we are on the side of life and good or on the side of depraved terrorism, inhumanity and evil.”

Check out the full report at this link:

*** Translated by DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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