“We condemn Israel’s killing of journalists in Gaza and urge Western media to demonstrate integrity in covering Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians. », Titles a statement from journalists on the protect-journalists site, November 9, 2023.
On November 9, 2023, a group of American journalists gathered around the protect-journalists site to condemn the assassination of their Palestinian colleagues in Gaza by Israeli bombings and targeted strikes. They are sending an open letter demanding better coverage of the war crimes perpetrated in Gaza: coverage that does not dehumanize Palestinians, coverage that uses the right words to describe the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. s in Gaza, “integral” coverage.
The open letter has – to date – been signed by 1,251 journalists, the complete list of signatories in real time can be found on the protect-journalists website. This letter is intended to be relayed and signed by any journalist or information worker who so wishes. If you would like to join the list of signatories to this letter, please complete this form.
Since October 7, 37 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israel.
Here is the translated letter.
Israel’s devastating bombing campaign and media blockade in Gaza threaten news gathering like never before. Hurry up.
More than 11,000 Palestinians were killed during the four weeks of Israeli siege. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 37 journalists have been killed in this conflict, the deadliest for journalists since the Committee began tracking deaths in 1992. Dozens more have been injured. are, detained, missing or have had family members killed
As reporters, editors, photographers, producers and other workers in newsrooms around the world, we are appalled by the massacre of our colleagues and their families by the Israeli army and government .
We write to urge you to end the violence against journalists in Gaza and to call on Western newsroom leaders to be lucid in covering Israel’s repeated atrocities against Palestinians. .
Journalists in the besieged Gaza Strip face severe power cuts, food and water shortages and the collapse of the medical system. They were killed while apparently working as journalists, as well as at night at their home. An investigation of Reporters Without Borders also shows that journalists were deliberately targeted during two Israeli strikes on October 13 in southern Lebanon, which killed Issam Abdallah, a videographer for the agency Reutersand injured six other journalists.
Families of journalists have also been killed. Wael Dahdouh, head of the officeAl Jazeera in Gaza and famous in the Arab world, learned on air on October 25 that his wife, children and other members of his family had been killed during an Israeli airstrike. On November 5, a strike on the home of journalist Mohammad Abu Hassir, of the Wafakilled him and 42 members of his family.
Israel blocked the entry of the foreign press, severely restricted telecommunications and bombed press offices. Around fifty media headquarters in Gaza have been hit over the past month. Israeli forces have explicitly warned news agencies that they “cannot guarantee” the safety of their employees from airstrikes. Part of a decades-long policy of deadly targeting of journalists, Israel’s actions demonstrate a large-scale suppression of freedom of expression.
The Palestinian Journalists Union urged Western journalists to publicly condemn the targeting of journalists. “We call on our fellow journalists around the world to take action to end the horrific bombardment of our people in Gaza,” the union said in a published statement on October 31.
We answer this call.
We stand with our colleagues in Gaza and applaud their courageous efforts to report on the situation amid the carnage and destruction. Without them, many of the horrors committed on the ground would remain invisible.
We join press associations, including Reporters Without BordersL’Association of Arab Journalists and the Middle East and the International Federation of Journaliststo demand that Israel explicitly commit to ending violence against journalists and other civilians. Western newsrooms benefit enormously from the work of Gaza journalists and must take immediate steps to seek their protection.
We also hold Western newsrooms responsible for the dehumanizing rhetoric that has been used to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Double standards, inaccuracies and falsehoods abound in American publications and have been well documented. In 2021, more than 500 journalists signed an open letter expressing concern that American media are ignoring Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Yet the call for equitable coverage has gone unanswered.
Newsrooms have instead undermined Palestinian, Arab and Muslim perspectives, dismissing them as unreliable, and used inflammatory language that reinforces Islamophobic and racist tropes. They published misinformation spread by Israeli officials and failed to examine the indiscriminate massacres of civilians in Gaza, committed with the support of the US government.
Since the October 7 attack by Hamas, in which more than 1,200 Israelis, including four journalists, were killed and some 240 others captured, these problems have worsened. Media coverage made the attack the starting point of the conflict without providing the necessary historical context, namely that Gaza is a de facto prison for refugees from historic Palestine, that the Israeli occupation is illegal under of international law and that Palestinians are regularly bombed and massacred by the Israeli government.
UN experts declared themselves “convinced that the Palestinian people are at serious risk of genocide”. Yet Western media are reluctant to cite genocide experts and accurately describe the existential threat to Gaza.
This is our job: to hold power to account. Otherwise, we risk becoming complicit in genocide.
We renew the call to journalists to tell the whole truth, without fear or favor. To use precise terms, well defined by international human rights organizations, such as “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. Recognize that distorting our words to conceal evidence of war crimes or Israel’s oppression of Palestinians is journalistic malpractice and an abdication of moral clarity.
The urgency of this moment cannot be overstated. It is imperative that we change course.
Press workers, join the signatories and sign the open letter here.
Palestine Media Agency