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Reuters fails to disclose parent company’s contract with ICE

The parent company of the Reuters news service has been quietly receiving millions of dollars from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to a report published on Wednesday.

The report published by NBC News said Thomson Reuters signed a contract worth nearly $7 million in March to provide software that helps ICE “locate, arrest and remove criminal aliens that pose a threat to public safety.”

Steve Rubley, the chief executive of the Thomson Reuters group that oversees the software sold to ICE, also serves on the board of a not-for-profit group that lobbies on behalf of ICE employees, NBC said.

In keeping with the current national dialogue surrounding the detention and separation of families at the border, Reuters journalists have published a number of news articles on undocumented migrants who have been captured and held by ICE and other agencies. That coverage includes an explosive investigative series examining the role ICE played in detaining some undocumented migrants who have been in the country for years.

None of the recent Reuters articles examined by The Desk on Thursday included a disclosure that the news organization’s parent company received millions of dollars from ICE in exchange for the company’s services. A spokesperson for the company told NBC that the news wire’s editorial operation is separate from the rest of the company’s commercial businesses.

NBC is a client of the Reuters news service. It was not immediately clear if NBC was considering a cancellation of its contract with Reuters over the company’s dealings with ICE. A spokesperson for NBC News has not yet returned an e-mail inquiry from The Desk on the matter.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).