Gaza’s journalists

Published June 28, 2024

FAR from showing any remorse over its actions, Israel is continuing its murderous rampage against Palestinian civilians across Gaza with great vigour. For those who rule Tel Aviv, every Gazan is linked to Hamas, and thus a ‘legitimate’ target. While all segments of Palestinian society have been affected by Israel’s campaign of extermination, Gaza’s journalists have been hit particularly hard. This has been dubbed the deadliest conflict for journalists in the modern era. As per the latest figures of the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 108 journalists and media workers have been killed in the war — 103 of them Palestinian. According to the findings of the Gaza Project — a collaborative effort involving various media organisations and NGOs — in many instances, Israel has intentionally targeted Palestinian journalists. As the Guardian, which was part of the project, has written, “some within the IDF appear to have viewed journalists working in Gaza” for outlets linked to Hamas as “legitimate military targets”.

Even before the slaughter in Gaza commenced, Israel was using deadly methods against journalists in the occupied territories. The case of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is amongst the most high-profile; the senior reporter was murdered by Israeli forces while in the field in Jenin in 2022. The then Israeli prime minister had, after the tragedy, made the dubious suggestion that Abu Akleh had been shot by Palestinian fighters. This notion was swiftly disproved, as all indications were that it was the Israelis that had targeted the reporter. Al Jazeera has particularly attracted the wrath of the Zionist state, as the Qatar-based broadcaster has been banned from operating within Israel. Clearly, Israel does not want other voices to be heard, and is adamant on spinning its blood-soaked campaign in Gaza as a ‘just war’. All institutions — public and private — that claim to speak for media freedom must insist that Israel be held to account for its murder of Palestinian journalists. The excuse that the journalists were working for Hamas does not fly, as Israel can label anyone — even children — a Hamas operative and summarily execute them. If and when a ceasefire takes effect, the families of the slain journalists need to be compensated, and those responsible for their murders brought to justice. Israel cannot be allowed to silence Palestinian voices.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2024

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