During the early hours of October 7, photojournalists from the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters were present at the scene of the Hamas attack in southern Israel.
Their timing and positioning raise concerns about ethical journalism practices. It's unclear if their presence was coordinated with Hamas or if the news agencies they represented were aware of their location within Israeli territory.
Details of the photojournalists’ presence at the attack in southern Israel have raised ethical concerns, notably by Honest Reporting, which examined their involvement.
AP credited four photographers for their coverage that day: Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.
AP's Controversial Coverage
These individuals captured images of a burning Israeli tank and the kidnapping of Israelis, with some even entering Israeli kibbutzim. Questions arise about whether they maintained their journalistic roles or crossed a line into participating in the event they were covering.
Reuters' Graphic Imagery
Reuters photographers Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and Yasser Qudih also captured scenes from the Hamas infiltration, including a lynching. Despite graphic content warnings, these images were distributed as part of Reuters' "Images of the Day," prompting scrutiny over the decision to feature such violent content.
"News agencies may claim that these people were just doing their job. Documenting war crimes, unfortunately, may be part of it. But it’s not that simple,” writes Honest Reporting. "It is now obvious that Hamas had planned its October 7 attack on Israel for a very long time: its scale, its brutal aims and its massive documentation have been prepared for months, if not years. Everything was taken into account — the deployments, the timing, as well as the use of bodycams and mobile phone videos for sharing the atrocities.”
The presence of these journalists at the exact time and place of the Hamas attacks suggests premeditation and potential collaboration. Whether they were inadvertently caught in the situation or were complicit requires examination. If there was any form of coordination with Hamas, it deeply implicates their journalistic integrity.
Hamas had meticulously planned the October 7 attacks, including their documentation. The involvement of journalists, whether by chance or design, in the coverage of these events without clear demarcation of their roles blurs ethical lines.
International news agencies must be transparent about the circumstances under which such material is obtained and whether their personnel acted within the bounds of journalistic ethics.