Reuters this week improved Middle East coverage on two separate issues following action from CAMERA’s Israel office.
Overstating the number of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanese refugee camps, Reuters had initially erred on Aug. 18 (“UN suspends services in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon after fatal clashes“): “Some 400,000 refugees live in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps . . ” (A screenshot of the original wording appears at left.)
As of March 2023, the total number of UNRWA registered Palestine Refugees in Lebanon is 489,292 persons. In addition, UNRWA records show a total of 31,400 Palestine Refugees from Syria residing in Lebanon. However, registration with UNRWA is voluntary; deaths as well as emigration remain often unreported, and refugees can continue registering newborns as they move abroad through the UNRWA online registration system. In 2017, the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee together with the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics carried out a census among Palestinians living in Lebanon and reported a total of 174,000 persons. A total of 45 per cent of Palestine Refugees are estimated to live in the country’s 12 refugee camps. About 200,000 Palestine Refugees access UNRWA services in Lebanon every year. The Agency’s current estimation is that no more than 250,000 Palestine Refugees currently reside in the country. [Emphasis added.]
In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, Reuters editors commendably corrected yesterday, revising the text to accurately report: “Ain el-Hilweh is the largest of 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, hosting around 80,000 of up to 250,000 Palestinian refugees countrywide, according to the United Nations’ agency for refugees from Palestine.”
In addition, Reuters added the following notice to the top of the article alerting clients and readers to the change: “(This Aug. 18 story has been corrected to fix the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, in paragraph 6).” Although CAMERA notified Reuters that the error exists in Arabic version of the same article, that article remains uncorrected as of Aug. 27.
Separately, following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, Reuters commendly updated an Aug. 21 headline and article which had failed to identify the victims of a Palestinian terror attack — kindergarden teacher Batsheva Nigri (42), murdered in front of her daughter, and Aryeh Leib Gottlieb, seriously injured — as Israelis.
— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) August 21, 2023
The elliptical headline had only stated: “Woman killed, man seriously wounded in West Bank shooting -Israel’s military.” The article itself also failed to identify the victims as Israeli. Following communication from CAMERA staff that day, Reuters quickly updated the headline and article to include the fact that the victims are Israel. The headline now states: “Suspected Palestinian gunmen kill Israeli woman in West Bank.” In addition, editors added the victims’ Israeli identity in the article itself.
This article was updated on Aug. 27 to include reference to the uncorrected Arabic error on the number of Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon.