May 21, 2024

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“AFP’s only bias is the facts”

“AFP’s only bias is the facts”

DAfter the Hamas attack on October 7, the production of the mainstream international media was scrutinized on a daily basis. Agence France-Presse (AFP) is no exception, although its product is not for the general public, but for the media, its clients. In Paris, critics are rallying to revive this old idea that the acronym AFP actually stands for the Franco-Palestinian Agency. But the French reader may be surprised to learn that the most widespread criticism of the agency, not only in the Middle East, makes it an agent of Israel.

The agency is often criticized for overzealousness that masks bias. In Paris, we stigmatize the semantic modesty of describing Hamas as a terrorist group, and for more than twenty years if the organization has applied this term to any movement, no matter how brutal it may have been, so much the worse. In Beirut, people wonder what all the evidence is waiting to say that Israel was responsible for the shooting that seriously wounded one of its photographers or targeted its office in Gaza. And the agency’s application of accountability rules here is too bad.

Otherwise, carelessness, apathy etc. are indicated by this delay Report on screening organized by Israeli authorities. Too bad the agency, with its permanent team on site, had described the October 7 atrocities in its own pictures, in its own words, without disguise. Focusing your fire on this single puzzle to single out one thing, one statement, and discredit the entire coverage is a surety of unequal combat. To the credit of the detractors, knowing that the company broadcasts 4,000 dispatches, 3,000 photos, 300 videos every day, it is true that it is difficult to have a complete view of the production.

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read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers Israel-Hamas war: Journalists targeted in strikes in Lebanon, according to RSF

Under real time pressure

The agency listens to all criticism and the discussion is lively within, as it is in many editorial offices around the world. The AFP has no problem recognizing that it can improve. Its dispatches are updated sometimes several times an hour, the enclosed message is clear, and these updates clearly show the corrections made. He has already publicly acknowledged factual errors and questionable editorial choices. He measures his particular responsibility in Gaza, where the media is often completely dependent on him because they cannot be there on their own. No longer needing to demonstrate the complexity of the conflict, it raised its awareness and did not wait to send reinforcements to its office in Jerusalem and its regional center in Nicosia. And he does self-criticism on a daily basis, as his editor-in-chief role, responsible for ethics and editorial policies, requires him to read the product, point out guidelines and correct certain inconsistencies. He does not back down from it.

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