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NYT photographer: I’ve never faced pressure from Hamas on photos

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An Iron Dome missile interceptor is launched to shoot down a missile fired toward Israel from Gaza, July 8, 2014. (IDF)

An Iron Dome missile interceptor is launched to shoot down a missile fired toward Israel from Gaza, July 8, 2014. (IDF)

For the second day in a row, The New York Times’ photography blog, Lens, asks one of its photographers in Gaza about covering the Hamas-Israel war.

Q. Have you had pressure from any of the parties involved in Gaza to take certain photos or not take certain photos?

A. Never. Not once in all my years.

The exchange on Lens with Times freelance photographer William Nassar comes on the heels of heavy scrutiny of the Times for its response to questioning from JTA last week about why the paper of record had failed to show photos of Hamas fighters during the conflict.

Our photographer hasn’t even seen anyone carrying a gun,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told me.

The Q&A’s on Lens are interesting (Tuesday’s was with Tyler Hicks), but they don’t answer the central question of why the Times has failed to obtain or show images of Hamas shooting at Israelis — a crucial element of this war. Even after two TV stations aired footage this week of Hamas rocket crews operating in Gaza, the Times failed to run images of the footage in the paper.

Here’s what Nassar had to say about taking photographs in Gaza, where he lives:

Q. Have you seen and photographed any Hamas fighters or other militants?

A. There was only one time I saw militants and photographed them and that was on the first day of the humanitarian pause which the sides agreed to on July 20. I did not find any problem photographing them. I have not seen any other militants since then.

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