Reuters refuses to sack worker over pro-Palestinian mail

News wire calls incident regrettable but declines to heed Jewish group’s demand to remove employee from position.

November 1, 2011 11:29
2 minute read.
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Thomson Reuters on Monday rejected a call to sack an employee who sent an unsolicited e-mail criticizing Israel to a Jewish group.

The news agency called the letter sent by Svebor Kranjc to the European Jewish Congress (EJC) last September regrettable but confirmed he would remain in his position.

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“Both Reuters and the employee involved regret the incident, and Reuters has taken appropriate action,” a Reuters representative wrote in an e-mail. “Our reputation for independence and objectivity has been hard-earned over many years, and we remain committed to preserving it.”

Last September the EJC sent a press release to media outlets during the buildup to the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. In the statement, the Jewish advocacy group urged European governments not to support the initiative arguing unilateral measures were detrimental to the peace process.

Kranjc, who is listed as the head of the Reuters television department at its Amsterdam bureau, responded from his work mailbox declaring his support for the Palestinian bid.

“I am going to support it!” he wrote in a two-lined message. “You have your state but you don’t want others to have their state. So sad.”

An EJC spokeswoman said Kranjc violated the journalistic code of impartiality and called for his dismissal.

“It is inconceivable that Reuters will continue to employ staff who so openly express ill-informed and ignorant opinions,” she said.

“We call upon Reuters, one of the oldest news agencies in the world and one that has a reputation for fair and balanced news, to remove employees who bring a political agenda into their work in journalism and media, and in their professional relations.”

Reuters launched an inquiry into the incident and announced its decision not to sack Kranjc on Monday.

The EJC spokeswoman said on Monday it was pleased Reuters had recognized the “misconduct” of its employee but would like to learn more about the measures it has adopted to avoid similar instances of “outrageous bias” in the future.

“We hope that those who seek to impart their ideology or personal agenda into the news will find no place at Reuters or any other respectable news organization,” she said.

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