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May 10, 2023 9:00 am

Hamas Terrorists Listed as ‘Journalists’ in Hatchet Job Report

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avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


Hamas fighters take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of the terror group’s founding, in Gaza City, Dec. 16, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Israel has been sharply criticized over press freedom in a report published this week by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), timed to coincide with the year anniversary of the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot while covering an anti-terror raid in Jenin.

Accusing the Israeli military of acting with “impunity” and severely undermining freedom of the press, the CPJ alleges in the report that it has “documented at least 20 journalist killings by members of the Israel Defense Forces” over the last 22 years.

While Israel should be held to account like every other country, the motivation behind the CPJ’s decision to produce a dedicated 32-page report is certainly questionable.

According to the organization’s own data, Israel does not even feature its so-called “Global Impunity Index,” which charts the countries in which press freedom is curtailed and where there is a lack of accountability when journalists are killed.

Furthermore, three employees of the Al Aqsa Media Network are highlighted in the report — Hussam Salama, Sameh al-Aryan, and Yousef Abu Hussein.

First, calling anyone on the payroll of the Al-Aqsa Media Network a “journalist” requires a reimagining of the word’s definition. Run by Hamas and regularly featuring programming that encourages terror attacks on Israeli civilians, the broadcaster is an Islamist propaganda outfit rather than a legitimate news outlet.

Second, both al-Aryan and Salama were fully-fledged Hamas operatives, with the latter’s terrorist involvement actually confirmed by Palestinian media shortly after his death in 2012.

Naturally, this CPJ report was swiftly and uncritically disseminated by international media outlets, including CNN and The Washington Post, which is perhaps unsurprising given that both media outlets were responsible for their own farcical “investigations” into Shireen Abu Akleh’s death that concluded she was deliberately targeted by the IDF, despite independent probes into the incident proving otherwise.

The death of a journalist while doing their job is a tragedy that deserves to be properly investigated.

However, the CPJ’s shameless lumping of Hamas terrorists in with journalists seemingly to tarnish Israel is the opposite of good investigative work — it is blatant partisanship that is unworthy of the CPJ’s cause.

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.

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