Photojournalist Stages News for Profit and Ideology

Mohammed Najib

Mohammed Najib

3. This past Sunday, Mohammed Najib, a veteran Palestinian journalist who works for the new Israeli TV station, I24 News, “was working in downtown Ramallah interviewing people on the street when, Arouri showed up, started inciting people against him. Aurori told people not to talk to Najib because he works for an Israeli propaganda organization. People gathered around, and he couldn’t continue working for fear of his life.”

HonestReporting was told Najib intends to file a formal complaint with the Palestinian security services and the PJS. His only recourse is to through “traditional tribal justice,” and even that may not make much difference, HonestReporting was told. “They come from the same village of Aroura, so the village elders have been asked to mediate. But an apology won’t make any difference because the damage has already been done. And an apology won’t help the next Israeli journalist attacked in the West Bank.”

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4. Israeli journalist Yoram Cohen was in Ramallah covering a press conference when Palestinian journalists protested against his presence. At the time, the Jerusalem Post wrote:

Cohen’s attempt to explain that he had received permission from the PA deputy minister of information to cover the press conference did not persuade the journalists, who demanded that he leave immediately. The PA official has since denied granting Cohen permission.

HonestReporting was told “Arouri was one of the initiators.”

Fox clothing5. Arouri has recently campaigned against the opening of an Israeli clothing store in Ramallah. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post:

Fadi al-Arouri, a Palestinian journalist involved in the anti-normalization campaign, said that the opening of a Fox branch in Ramallah was a “stain of disgrace in light of calls for boycotting the state of occupation and its products.”

Arouri accused the PA’s Economy Ministry of facilitating the entry of Israeli products to the Palestinian market by giving Israeli companies and merchants permits to work in the Palestinian territories.

HonestReporting was told, “Arouri’s entitled to his views, but once he becomes a real activist, it becomes very unethical for Xinhua, Reuters or any other media outlet, to rely on him. If he’s involved in political activities, it’s an ethical problem. Would Reuters ever hire a settler to be their Jerusalem correspondent?

Ethical Questions

Aurori has irresponsibly blurred the line between journalism and activism, raising important questions for the journalism community.

Why do Xinhua and Reuters continue their association with him?

What’s the real reason Palestinian journalists against normalization want to work in Israel?

Who were the other photographers who marched to the Qalandiya checkpoint? And which news services are they employed by?

Is the International Federation of Journalists prepared to condemn Arouri and the other photographers as quickly as it denounced Israel?

Is the journalism community prepared to speak out against Arouri?

How should Israeli journalists respond to intimidation by their Palestinian counterparts?

How reliable are Palestinian pool photographers? Can US officials object to the PPO’s choices?

Related Reading

For more on issues of photo bias, see these reports:

Shattered Lens

Reuters Case Study


(Image of Arouri via Vimeo/Fadi Arouri, Najib via LinkedIn/Mohammed Najib)

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