BEIRUT: NBC’s reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, whose removal by the network from Gaza had raised questions and criticism, will go back to report from the city he knows well, an NBC statement said Friday.
“As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed,” said the statement issued on the network’s website.
“We've carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days."
Mohyeldin’s withdrawal from Gaza came shortly after he reported the Israeli airstrike on a Gaza beach that killed four Palestinian children Wednesday.
Despite his extensive coverage and the on-ground reporting he had made, Mohyeldin was missing from the primetime newscast covering the incident, leading to complaints Wednesday from his fellow journalists.
Although his recorded reports were used by the channel, Mohyeldin was not called to give a first-person perspective on the events. The Intercept, among other news outlets, reported that a high-level executive at NBC ordered Mohyeldin out of Gaza “immediately.”
Adding to the controversy, Mohyeldin removed two posts from his Twitter and Facebook accounts in which he reported that a U.S. State Department spokesperson blamed Hamas for the Israeli killings.
“The U.S. State Department spokesperson just said that Hamas is ultimately responsible for Israel shelling and killing 4 boys who were cousins aged 9-11 because Hamas didn’t accept the cease-fire. Discuss among yourselves,” he had posted on Facebook.
The network did not give an official reason for withdrawing Mohyeldin from Gaza. Although executives told media that the move was merely out of “security concerns,” NBC then sent their chief foreign correspondent to replace Mohyeldin.
After Mohyeldin’s controversial disappearance from social and broadcast media, the Twitter hash tag “#LetAymanReport” went viral, with the help of U.S. channels’ foreign correspondents.
"Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday,” NBC’s statement said.
Mohyeldin praised NBC’s decision, posting their statement on his Twitter account and offering thanks for all the support.
“I’m returning to Gaza to report. Proud of NBC's continued commitment to cover the Palestinian side of the story,” he said in another tweet.
Similarly, CNN has pulled out their foreign correspondent Diana Magnay from Israel, over her Twitter post covering Israeli citizens cheering the bombardment of Gaza.
“Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on Gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum,” Magnay tweeted, which prompted the CNN to pull her out and release a statement apologizing for the language used.