Today: 14-04-2024

Reuters Clarifies: No Prior Knowledge of Oct. 7 Hamas Attack on Israel

Reuters Refutes Claims of Prior Knowledge Regarding Oct. 7 Hamas Attack

London, Nov 9 (Reuters) — On Thursday, Reuters firmly rejected assertions made by media advocacy group HonestReporting, dismissing any notion that it or other international news organizations had advanced knowledge of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers. The Israeli government has sought explanations from Reuters and three other news groups in response to an HonestReporting article that raised questions about their collaboration with Gaza-based photojournalists during the Hamas assault.

HonestReporting, characterizing itself as a charitable organization with a mission to combat ideological prejudice in journalism, clarified that it wasn't accusing Reuters of collusion but was instead posing ethical questions about news coverage. Reuters issued a categorical denial, stating, "Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on Oct. 7."

The news agency clarified that it acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were present at the border on the morning of Oct. 7, with whom it had no prior relationship. The published photographs were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel reported gunmen crossing the border. Reuters emphasized that its staff journalists were not on-site at the locations referenced in the HonestReporting article.

Israeli government spokesperson Nitzan Chen expressed concern, demanding explanations from Reuters and other news organizations, stating that the HonestReporting article had crossed "every red line, professional and moral." The Israeli prime minister's office viewed with utmost gravity the suggestion that journalists working with international media had collaborated in covering the Hamas attack, describing them as accomplices in crimes against humanity.

HonestReporting, via social media platform X, reiterated its intent to question news coverage, specifically focusing on whether photojournalists had prior knowledge and, if so, whether news groups were notified before the attack. The situation remains tense as stakeholders navigate the ethical and professional dimensions of these allegations.

"We did not accuse Reuters of collusion," HonestReporting emphasized. "We quite rightly raised some serious ethical issues regarding news outlets' association with these freelancers and asked important and relevant questions that everyone deserves answers to."

The Associated Press (AP), also implicated by HonestReporting, asserted, "The Associated Press had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened. 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."

In its statement, Reuters reiterated its commitment to delivering independent, accurate, and unbiased news globally, aligning with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. As the situation unfolds, stakeholders navigate the delicate balance between journalistic integrity, ethical considerations, and the demand for transparency. Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Edmund Blair. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding HonestReporting's assertions of media organizations having prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack has prompted strong rebuttals from Reuters and The Associated Press (AP). HonestReporting clarified that it did not accuse Reuters of collusion but raised ethical concerns about their association with Gaza-based freelancers. Both Reuters and AP vehemently denied any foreknowledge of the attack, providing timelines and clarifications to support their stance.

As the implicated news outlets emphasize their commitment to journalistic integrity and the timely dissemination of accurate information, the situation underscores the challenges in navigating the intersection of journalism, ethics, and transparency. The ongoing dialogue between media organizations, advocacy groups, and the public reflects the broader discussions surrounding the responsibilities and accountability of news outlets in covering complex and sensitive geopolitical events. The adherence to established journalistic principles, such as those outlined in the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, remains central to maintaining public trust in the news industry. Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Edmund Blair. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.