Reuters Forgets Pledge

Reuters has recently come under much fire for disseminating photoshopped pictures from the battlefield in Lebanon. 

CAMERA has long criticized Reuters for providing a platform for terrorist propaganda—not only with the photographs they distribute, but with  reports from the region as well.

For example, following a September 22, 2004, Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed two Israelis and wounded 17 more, Reuters grotesquely reversed the roles of victim and perpetrator. An emotive, sympathetic article by Reuters reporter Atef Sa’ad focused on the stunned pain not of the Israeli victims’s families but of the suicide bomber’s family. Complaints by CAMERA staff and members elicited an acknowledgement by Reuters that proper care was not taken in the editing of the article as well as a pledge to reinforce editing safeguards:

I have reviewed the Sept 22 story…and proper care was not taken in the editing of the copy. Reuters is committed to the highest standards of balanced reporting and I regret that this story did not meet those standards. We are reinforcing our editing safeguards.

But now, following the war in Lebanon between the Hezbollah terrorist group and Israel, the pledge has apparently been forgotten.

An August 15, 2006 article by Yara Bayoumy entitled “Lebanese families praise Hizbollah” echoes the terrorist group’s own propaganda. Bayoumy explains the arming of the terrorist group by lauding its “fight” against Israel and credits them for chasing Israel out of Lebanon in 2000:

After the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, Hizbollah was the only Lebanese faction which kept its guns on the grounds it needed them to fight Israeli occupation.

Impatience with Israel drove the group to fight a war of attrition until the Jewish state was forced to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000. The group’s status grew as the only one able to take on Israel.

Just like Atef Sa’ad’s 2004 article, Bayoumy’s report describes the terrorists in heroic terms and details the pain of their families, quoting their anti-Israel rhetoric:

“Martyrs love God. They are not scared of anything. They are heroes. They terrified the United States and the whole world. God chose them to be martyrs,” said Ali’s mother, Ghada, 40, as she rocked back and forth mourning her son’s loss.

“He was martyred … God destroy Israel,” she said.

Taking a page from Atef Sa’ad’s book, Bayoumy ends the report with a quote justifying the terrorist group’s mission:

In fact, Ghada saw it as a religious duty to fight what she saw as Israeli aggression on Lebanese territory.

“How can we give Israel our land that’s drenched in our fighters’ blood?”

Have Reuters editors already forgotten their pledge? Reuters must again reinforce its editing safeguards.

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