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EXPOSED: AP Photographer in Gaza Taught Media Courses Supervised by Hamas-run Information Ministry

A staff photographer working for the Associated Press in Gaza has instructed media training courses supervised by the Hamas-run Information Ministry, an HonestReporting investigation revealed. In 2016 and 2017, Adel Hana shared photos of himself…

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A staff photographer working for the Associated Press in Gaza has instructed media training courses supervised by the Hamas-run Information Ministry, an HonestReporting investigation revealed.

In 2016 and 2017, Adel Hana shared photos of himself online showing he had taught photography courses run by the Media Training Department at the Ministry of Information in Gaza, which is de-facto controlled by Hamas.

The revelation that Hana, an award-winning news photographer who has been on AP’s payroll for over three decades, has also provided work for a body run by a proscribed terror group raises alarming questions regarding his journalistic objectivity and AP’s due diligence.

Media Instructor for Hamas-run Body

On January 30, 2017, Hana shared the following post on his personal Facebook page:

The post shows pictures of Gazan photography students listening to Hana as he stands below the official emblem of the Palestinian Ministry of Information, a body that’s officially under the Palestinian Authority but in Gaza is de-facto run by Hamas.

The post caption reads in Arabic:

With the grace and favor of Allah, the first session of the basics of photography courses has been opened in the headquarters of the Ministry of Information in Gaza. Approximately thirty male and female students, both current and graduates of media studies from various universities in the Gaza Strip, are participating in the session. It is worth mentioning that these courses are under the supervision of the Media Training Department at the Ministry of Information in Gaza and the Journalistic Photographer Committee of the Arab Photographers’ Union, Palestine branch.

Some of the pictures were also posted on the official Facebook page of the Media Training Department at the Ministry of Information, with a caption that read in Arabic: “Opening of the first batch of the Photography course in cooperation with the Union of Arab Photographers – Palestine Branch. With photojournalist Adel Hana.”

It’s unclear why the professional body mentioned in the post — the Arab Photographers’ Union — had no problem cooperating with a Hamas-run government agency.

And it seems that Hana wasn’t just a guest speaker in the Ministry’s course. A February 2017 post on the official Media Training Department page showed him granting graduation certificates to the course participants — potentially indicating a larger role in the course’s program.

It also wasn’t a one-off. A year earlier, in a post on his professional Facebook page, Hana is pictured instructing another photography course with a caption reading in Arabic:

We are back again in 2016.

The first meeting of the first cycle of the fourth plan for the courses and training sessions of the “Journalists for Excellence” team with Mr. Adel Hana (Photographer at AP News Agency) in cooperation with the Ministry of Information.

Interestingly, Hana didn’t share any of the posts on his X account, where he mainly shares content in English.
According to this account, he is currently located in Cairo, Egypt. He has relocated from Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war, after providing AP with typical photos of destruction, bodies and hospital scenes — which happen to serve the agenda of the Information Ministry where he served as an instructor.

Disturbing Questions

The Information Ministry in Gaza is at the forefront of Hamas’ media fight.

The Facebook page of its Government Media Office contains antisemitic propaganda, with terms like “brutal Nazi Israeli war on Gaza.”

A news article from 2010 describes how Ismail Haniyeh, then Hamas prime minister, bestowed public honor on the Ministry’s government media office after a conflict with Israel. The article’s headline reads in Arabic: “Haniyeh honors the Ministry of Information and praises its efforts.”

And an article from 2019 shows Haniyeh speaking at an official Information Ministry event, under the same emblem that appeared in Hana’s training photos. The article also quotes the Director of Public Relations and Training at the Ministry saying its media courses are one of the Ministry’s “prominent achievements.”

Under Hamas’ tyrannical regime, such “achievements” are not measured by their representation of the truth, but by their adherence to the rulers’ narrative.

So the fact that Hana, as a veteran journalist of a respected international news outlet, willingly took part in the Ministry’s training programs is beyond the pale.

He was even interviewed for a flattering profile in Hamas’ news outlet in 2014.

All of the above raises several disturbing questions:

  • Did AP know of Hana’s role in courses supervised by the Hamas-run Information Ministry?
  • If so, did AP approve of his public affiliation with a Hamas-run body?
  • Whether Hana was paid by the Ministry or not, how can AP consider him an impartial journalist?
  • Did AP training methods and the priceless professional knowledge shared with Hana throughout his employment there, find their way to the Hamas-run Information Ministry training?

Shaping the Next Generation of Gaza Journalists

This is not the first time that Gazan journalists working for a foreign media outlet have used their reputation and experience to serve as instructors in propagandist media training programs in Gaza.

In March 2019, the Media Training Department posted photos showing New York Times freelancer Soliman Hijji teaching one of its photography courses. In 2022, HonestReporting exposed Hijjy’s Hitler-praising social media posts and the paper subsequently fired him (twice).

And last May, media analyst Eitan Fischberger exposed how Gaza freelance photographer Samar Abu Elouf, who since 2010 has worked for Western media outlets, instructed a 2012 media training course for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She recently won the Polk Award for her war coverage for The New York Times.

Could it be that proscribed terror groups in Gaza use veteran journalists with foreign media experience to guide, train and mentor the next generation of Palestinian narrative-setters?

It certainly looks like it.

News outlets should not only improve their vetting of Gaza hires, but also make sure that any professional knowledge shared with them won’t be later exploited by antisemitic terrorists.

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