In recent weeks, several media outlets have reported that freelance photographers provided Reuters with images that were staged or credited using pseudonyms.
‘Interviews with numerous Syrian photographers, most requesting anonymity… said many of the freelancers are activists – in one case a spokesman – who supported the rebels,’ reported a photojournalism blog in the New York Times last month.
Reuters global editor Jim Gaines told the New York Times Lens Blog that
the agency uses activists in Syria, ‘partly because they have access and
partly because you have to be among friends to be safe’, adding, ‘we
scrutinise all images and captions’.
In response, a Reuters spokesperson told AP: ‘We have thoroughly investigated these claims and established to our satisfaction that the pictures were not staged.
‘Setting up pictures is a firing offence, strictly against policy. It is the responsibility of Reuters’ chief photographers, photo desks in the region and the filing desk in Singapore to question every picture we serve to clients where a setup is suspected.
‘Reuters will not use any photographer, freelance or staff, who is found to have passed off a set-up picture as a spontaneous one.’