The state of Israel announced this week that it arrested an NBC News journalist over what it describes as statements promoting the Hamas terrorist organization. The news came just weeks after Jerusalem condemned several international media organizations after it was revealed that its photographers were embedded during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack that killed more than 1,200 people.
Israel arrested Mirvat al-Azzeh after allegedly sharing four posts on social media about the terrorist attacks. Israel did not release the exact details about the content of the posts shared by the NBC News freelancer.
However, Israeli law enforcement called the posts “inciting or glorying the horrible acts committed against civilians.”
NBC quickly announced that it had cut ties with the freelancer.
A company spokesperson said that Azza was hired “for services as a freelance producer, we were not aware of her personal social media activity that provided the basis for the Israeli investigation.”
NBC further stated that the arrest was not linked to material Azza provided NBC News.
The journalist’s attorney said that she had “cooperated fully with the investigation.” Azzeh’s attorney said that she admitted that the posts were hers.
This is not the first time that Western media companies have faced pressure due to the actions of their freelancers and employees in the Middle East.
The New York Times employed Soliman Hijjy, who had praised Adolf Hitler on Facebook. Hijjy covered the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel despite a 2012 post that read in Arabic, “How great you are Hitler.”
Furthermore, two other journalists employed by the newspaper signed a group letter that blamed Israel for the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.
“Israel’s war against Gaza is an attempt to conduct genocide against the Palestinian people. This war did not begin on October 7th. However, in the last 19 days, the Israeli military has killed over 6,500 Palestinians, including more than 2,500 children and wounded over 17,000,” the letter read.
Israel also criticized outlets such as CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press and the New York Times for hiring freelancers who were with the Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attack.
Yo, @AP, @Reuters, @cnn – what your freelancer in Gaza Hassan Eslaiah is doing on a motorbike with a grenade, on his way to the massacre of women and babies? Is a grenade part of the equipment you provide? pic.twitter.com/jU85KEo7Ec
— עמית סגל Amit Segal (@amit_segal) November 9, 2023