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Media Defence condemns the targeting of journalists in Gaza

Media Defence condemns the targeting of journalists in Gaza

For 9 months, journalists in Gaza have endured particularly dangerous and inhumane conditions. Since October 2023, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), over 100 journalists and media workers, mostly Palestinian, have been killed. The intensity of Israel’s assault makes the situation increasingly dangerous.

Access to independent information is crucial. We recognise that journalists in Gaza are risking their lives daily to provide the world with reliable information. The importance of accurate and informed reporting during armed conflicts is key, not least because reporting often has an impact on how warring parties behave.

The extensive and detailed reports recently published by the Forbidden Stories-led consortium, the Gaza Project, point to instances of targeted killing of journalists, among other types of attacks against the press. The casualties are not limited to the Gaza strip, as Palestinian journalists in the West Bank have also been targeted. As of 25 June 2024, CPJ reported that since the start of the conflict, 108 journalists and media workers were confirmed killed, 32 journalists were reported injured, 2 were reported missing, and 49 journalists were arrested.

Violence against journalists can never be justified and international law prohibits such attacks. Journalists working in conflict zones have the status of civilians and are protected by international humanitarian law. They are not military targets, and their safety should be guaranteed.

These attacks prevent journalists from doing their job and are just part of a number of attacks on the media by Israel during the conflict, including the ban on foreign journalists or outlets from entering the Gaza strip. Additionally, the destruction of communications infrastructure, frequent communication blackouts, internet shutdowns, and the closure of Al Jazeera’s Israeli offices by Israel are deeply concerning.

Israel should abide by its international law obligations, lift its ban on foreign news networks from entering Gaza, and immediately carry out a thorough and independent investigation of all instances of targeted killings and violence against journalists. The International Criminal Court (ICC) also has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute these incidents in accordance to the Rome Statute. The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has an active investigation under way regarding the situation in Palestine and filed applications for warrants of arrest last month.

Supporting Journalists from Gaza 

We are conscious of the difficulties in providing legal support to journalists in Palestine at this moment in time, however we remain committed to providing support where we can. Our team is actively researching potential cases where we could offer support either through financial assistance or representation.

As a steering committee member of the Legal Network for Journalists at Risk and an active participant in the Journalists in Distress Network, we can also connect journalists to wider support mechanisms.

Media Defence has an emergency defence programme, through which we financially support cases where journalists face costly and complex litigation in an attempt to silence them. Journalists in need of legal support can apply here.

 

If you are a journalist in need of other emergency support, you may contact:

Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) can provide emergency support. Any journalist who needs to replace media equipment within Gaza, can fill their form HERE.

Any media organisation and/or fact checking organisation in need of help to fact check content from Gaza, can fill out ARIJ’s form HERE to join their slack group.

The Committee to protect Journalists is another organisation that may be able to help you, they provide emergency grants for equipment etc. You can email them here: emergencies@cpj.org

International Media Support (IMS) are also providing direct emergency support, you can contact them here: info@mediasupport.org

The International Federation for Journalists also provides emergency support through their Safety fund: https://www.ifj.org/safety-fund

Free Press Unlimited: https://www.freepressunlimited.org/en/projects/reporters-respond-emergency-and-legal-support

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