Sunday, February 21, 2010

Egyptian police kill African migrants trying to cross border; let us count the ways Reuters apologizes

When Israeli security forces shoot armed Palestinians who have attacked Israeli border positions or attempted to infiltrate the country from Gaza to conduct military operations, Reuters typically reports on the incident in superficial fashion, focusing on the shooting details with little or no background provided on the long history of attempted infiltrations or acts of terror conducted in this way.  In this story for example, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan do not even report on the incident which precipitated the shootings, describing only a "confrontation" between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops.

In a story appearing on its website today, Reuters reports on the killing by Egyptian police of two African migrants attempting to cross the border between the Sinai Peninsula and Israel.  Following the lede, note the background detail and extraordinary effort on the part of Reuters correspondents to apologize for the killings:
The source said a police patrol ordered them to stop and opened fire when they did not.
Egyptian police have stepped up efforts in recent months to control the border with Israel, after an increase in human trafficking through Egypt.
Egyptian police say the smugglers who ferry migrants to the border region sometimes fire on security forces.
Egypt, which for years tolerated tens of thousands of African migrants on its territory, fears the unfettered flow of migrants at its Sinai border could pose a security threat in an area where Islamist militants sometimes find refuge.
And of course, what would a Reuters story be without an attempt to blame Israel:
Egypt has faced Israeli pressure to halt the flow.
All very good reasons apparently, for Egyptian police to shoot and kill unarmed migrants.

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