The New York Times on Thursday issued a statement responding to a report by HonestReporting, which revealed that Gaza-based photojournalists, including a freelance photographer who has contributed to The New York Times, crossed into Israeli territory to document Hamas’ October 7 attack against Israeli towns located near the Gaza border.
“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 our journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk. The Times has extensively covered the Oct. 7 attacks and the war with fairness, impartiality, and an abiding understanding of the complexities of the conflict,” the newspaper said in the statement, which appeared on its website in both English and Hebrew.
It further said that HonestReporting “has made vague allegations about several freelance photojournalists working in Gaza, including Yousef Masoud. Though Yousef was not working for The Times on the day of the attack, he has since done important work for us. There is no evidence for HonestReporting’s insinuations. Our review of his work shows that he was doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded.”
“We also want to speak in defense of freelance photojournalists working in conflict areas, whose jobs often require them to rush into danger to provide first-hand witness accounts and to document important news. This is the essential role of a free press in wartime. We are gravely concerned that unsupported accusations and threats to freelancers endangers them and undermines work that serves the public interest,” said The New York Times.
Earlier on Thursday, the Reuters news agency responded to the HonestReporting report and denied any suggestion it had prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers.
"We are aware of a report by HonestReporting and accusations made against two freelance photographers who contributed to Reuters coverage of the Oct. 7 attack," Reuters said.
"Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on October 7,” it added.
"Reuters acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of October 7, with whom it did not have a prior relationship. 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."
Minister Benny Gantz responded to the HonestReporting revelation and said, "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."