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News Agency Reuters Dismisses Claims Of Prior Knowledge Of Oct 7 Hamas Attack

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On Thursday, Reuters refuted claims made by the media advocacy organisation HonestReporting that it and other foreign news agencies were aware of Hamas’s attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians on October 7.

Regarding the HonestReporting piece that questioned Reuters and three other news organisations’ cooperation with photojournalists operating in Gaza during the Hamas assault, the Israeli government sought explanations.

On its website, HonestReporting calls itself “a charitable organisation” with the goal of “combating ideological prejudice in journalism and the media, as it impacts Israel.” The organisation maintained that it was not accusing Reuters of cooperation but rather bringing up moral concerns with news reporting.

“Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on Oct. 7,” Reuters stated in response to the HonestReporting piece and the claims made by Israeli government officials later on. “Reuters acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of Oct. 7, with whom it did not have a prior relationship,” it added.

“The photographs published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border. Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the HonestReporting article,” Reuters further added.

The spokesperson for the Israeli government, Nitzan Chen, stated in a statement that the HonestReporting story “crosses every red line, professional and moral,” and that Israel was seeking explanations from Reuters and the other news companies.

The office of the Israeli prime minister declared that it took the idea that foreign media journalists had contributed to the coverage of the Hamas attack “very seriously.” “These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics,” claimed the statement.

On social networking site X, HonestReporting posted a post posing queries regarding news coverage, such as if the photojournalists were aware of the incident beforehand and, if so, whether the news organisations were informed.

“We did not accuse Reuters of collusion,” it said. “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.”

Among the news organisations included by HonestReporting was the Associated Press (AP), which stated: “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.”

According to Reuters’ statement, the company is still dedicated to providing impartial, truthful, and independent news worldwide in accordance with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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