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February 8, 2022 11:46 am
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Reuters Confused About Own Ties to Journalism Institution That Gave Fellowship to Terrorist-glorifying Writer

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue

Opinion

A poster from a protest in London linking Black Lives Matter movement to the situation facing the Palestinians. Photo: Apartheid Off Campus via Facebook.

Here are a handful of examples of journalistic blunders that Reuters has made in its reportage on Israel and, more generally, about Jews over just the last two months:

Inexplicably rebranding as “protests” a series of violent Palestinian riots in the West Bank; “contextualizing” the stabbing of an Israeli by tacitly offering a rationale for the attack in the headline; quoting an Islamic charity that has been dogged by accusations of antisemitism about the recent Texas synagogue attack; and uncritically parroting a palpably untrue narrative about an alleged Israeli campaign to force Palestinians out of a Jerusalem neighborhood.

These are all the more egregious given that Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world, with more than 2,000 clients spread across 128 countries.

Just last week, HonestReporting questioned whether Reuters has a habit of associating with individuals who have casually disseminated disinformation about the Jewish state, including the agency’s Henriette Chacar.

Chacar has, among other slanderous remarks, accused Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “Jewish supremacy.”

We also pointed to how the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), which receives its core funding from the charitable arm of the wire service, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, had awarded Palestinian writer Haya Abushkhaidem a place in its 2022 Journalist Fellow Programme, which is based at the UK’s prestigious Oxford University.

Like Chacar, Abushkhaidem has promoted the demonstrably false claim that Israel is upholding a system of apartheid, as well as “lynching” Palestinians.

In one particularly disturbing Instagram post, Abushkhaidem uploaded a picture celebrating Palestinian “women for freedom” that included images of terrorists Leila Khaled and Dalal Mughrabi.

Interestingly, the 14-strong cohort of 2022 fellows for RISJ’s Hilary Term (spring) includes another Palestinian journalist, Hiba M. Yazbek, who is a former news editor at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and has contributed to reports in The New York Times.

Yazbek also appears to hold views that call into question her ability to be objective and accurately report on Israel, such as her claim that she is living under a “mental occupation,” in addition to her assertion that Palestinians are a “minority in [their] own land,” which seemingly indicates opposition to Jewish self-determination in any territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

After HonestReporting disclosed details of some of Reuters’ controversial associations, we also reached out to Brian Moss, of the agency’s Ethics and Standards Department, to probe about Chacar’s hiring.

When one of our readers emailed the Ethics and Standards Department requesting clarification from Moss, he replied thus:

I appreciate your interest in the Reuters Institute’s choice of fellows.

The Reuters Institute is independent of Reuters News. Our organization has no involvement in its governance or affairs.

However, according to the Institute’s annual 2020/21 report, there are a number of key individuals from the Reuters news agency who are actively involved in its day-to-day operations, including Michael Friedenberg, who up until December 2021 was the president of Reuters.

Also sitting on the RISJ’s Steering Committee, which has “general oversight of the Institute, its programme of activities, and its strategy,” is Reuters’ global head of video and pictures, John Pullman, who is responsible for running a team of 400 journalists based around the world.

It would appear, then, that Moss’ assertion that Reuters has “no involvement” in the Institute’s governance or affairs is not entirely true.

Sadly, “not entirely true” is becoming something of a pattern with regard to Reuters, which is ironic when considering the wire services prides itself on its supposed “integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.”

It is important to note that HonestReporting’s focus on Reuters and the Reuters Institute is part of our mission to ensure that journalists report the news accurately as it relates to Israel. We will, therefore, continue to highlight those whom the agency employs and associates with, in accordance with our raison d’etre.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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