The media watchdog HonestReporting published an investigative report showing that journalists from leading news outlets, including The New York Times, AP, Reuters, and CNN, joined Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip on October 7 to document the events with their cameras. The organization, which works to expose anti-Israel bias in the foreign press, raised weighty ethical questions regarding the presence of those photographers alongside Hamas terrorists. Among other things, it begs the question of whether the photographers were aware in advance of the intent to carry out the massacre and how they arrived on the scene so quickly. Did Hamas allow them to be there? Did these news reporters have approval to enter Israel alongside the terrorists? Did the photographers inform their editors that they were accompanying the terrorists as they carried out the attacks against the Israelis?
Israel’s Foreign Press Association released a statement on Thursday, stating that it is extremely concerned about recent Israeli government statements that can encourage incitement against journalists documenting the war. The Foreign Press Association has full confidence in the news organizations’ investigations.
The investigation revealed that the photographers documented up close the kidnapping of civilians and soldiers, an attack on a tank, and the lynching of an IDF soldier. In addition, a CNN freelance journalist broadcasted images of the burning tank and accompanied the terrorists into Gaza. CNN clarified that on October 7, Hassan Eslaiah was not employed by CNN, nor was any of his footage from that day used by CNN. He was first employed by CNN on October 10.
AP responded, stating that they had no advance knowledge of the October 7 attack and that their role is to capture news and images from events happening worldwide, even if they are terrible and involve victims. The New York Times responded to the allegations by claiming that the accusation that anyone at The New York Times had advance knowledge of the Hamas attacks or accompanied Hamas terrorists during the attacks is untrue and outrageous. It is reckless to make such allegations, putting journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk.
The Journalists Association of Jerusalem raised concerns about complicity in Hamas’s crimes, while the National Public Diplomacy Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity. Communications Minister Dr. Shlomo Karhi contacted CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, and the AP, demanding a swift and thorough response to the allegations.
Reuters denied any suggestion that it had prior knowledge of the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers, stating that they did not embed journalists with Hamas on October 7. Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the report.