Twitter outcry: Shame on Reuters

Reporter Mohamed Sudam's employment by Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh presented a clear conflict of interest for Reuters, but it took an online uproar for the wire news agency to take action. 

Mar 3, 2020, 10:30 am*

Internet Culture

 

Kevin Collier

People who follow Yemeni news from abroad were stunned last week to find that Mohamed Sudam, a reporter for the news wire agency Reuters, has long been employed as a personal secretary and translator to the Midlde Eastern country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The finding clearly contradicts the very first line of the Reuters handbook of journalism. “Everything we do as Reuters journalists has to be independent, free from bias, and executed with the utmost integrity.”

Upon learning of Sudam’s connection to Saleh, a number of Yemeni activists took to Twitter to voice their anger. Since Nov. 11, the hashtag #shameonreuters has been mentioned over 600 times, according to statistics from Topsy.

The online uproar caught the attention of the New York Times and Washington Post, prompting Reuters to issue a statement on Facebook about Sudam that both defended his prior employment and declared his firing.

“Sudam’s work as a Reuters stringer over the course of many years has been fair and accurate. When he became a translator for the president, he disclosed his role to Reuters,” the statement reads in part. “On reviewing the matter, however, we believe it’s not appropriate… He is no longer reporting for us from Yemen.”

The following is a Storify of the #shameonreuters hashtag, which for many brought Sudam’s dual employment to light and cast doubt about Reuters’s credibility.

Photo by Presidential Press and Information Office

 

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*First Published: Nov 18, 2011, 5:41 pm