Wednesday 21 March 2018
The Thomson Reuters deal to sell immigration data to Homeland Security is an appalling misjudgment. It will reinforce those who propagate the old lie that journalists from Western news organisations are spies. Indeed, for all we know, this deal may make them just that. Anyone being interviewed by a Reuters journalist anywhere would be entitled to ask if their personal details will end up with Homeland.
This ill-considered move - if indeed it was considered seriously by anyone - undermines Reuters news's cherished reputation for independence and freedom from bias. Where are the Trustees whose job it is to protect those principles? Where is the editor-in-chief?
Those who run Thomson Reuters may well argue the deal is with a Thomson Reuters data unit and not with editorial, but the Reuters name is on the tin. Our journalists have been sold out for a fistful of bitcoin.
Rodney Pinder was director of the International News Safety Institute (INSI) from 2003 to 2012, set up to help protect journalists in danger worldwide.