Executive director of HonestReporting Gil Hoffman said that his organization was simply “raising questions” about Gaza-based freelance journalists present during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, according to an interview with the Associated Press’ David Bauder.
The article published by HonestReporting on Wednesday suggested that the Gaza-based journalists who supplied photos from the attack and outlets who circulated them breached the Israeli border “not only physically, but also journalistically.”
Hoffman, previously the chief political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, admitted to Bauder that the organization “had no evidence to back up” the suggestion that news organizations were aware of the incursion ahead of time.
The executive director of HonestReporting also said that it has never claimed to be a “news organization.” Hoffman argued to Bauder, “They were legitimate questions to be asked.”
However, the report by HonestReporting led to significant political ramifications, with some Israeli politicians even suggesting the photojournalists be killed.
Israel's internal security agency announced that they will eliminate all participants of the October 7 massacre.
The "photojournalists" who took part in recording the assault will be added to that list.
— Danny Danon
דני דנון (@dannydanon) November 9, 2023
Journalists found to have known about the massacre, and still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered – are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such.
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) November 9, 2023
The outlets accused of journalistic ethical questions by HonestReporting responded in full force, distancing themselves from the Gaza-based journalists.
CNN severed all ties with photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah after he was discovered to be embedded with the terrorist group Hamas.
“We had no prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks. Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance journalist who has worked with a number of international and Israeli outlets, was not working for the network on Oct. 7. As of today, we have severed all ties with him,” a statement from CNN read.
The New York Times denied any reports that the outlet “had advanced knowledge of the Hamas attacks.” The Times also said that it was “reckless to make such allegations, putting our journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk.”
The Associated Press said the outlet had “no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened.”
“We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza,” the organization stated.
Reuters also released a statement saying that the outlet “categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on Oct. 7.”
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