The Independent Media Association (IMA) strongly condemns the deaths of, and violence against, journalists and media outlets in the Israel-Gaza conflict, which have followed the appalling and bloody attack launched by the militant group “Hamas” against Israel ten days ago.
Attacks on journalists are war crimes and risk having the effect of silencing the voices of the Palestinian public who are under occupation, as well as preventing the public from having full access to the facts of what is happening in the area.
Journalists have a critical role to play in times of conflict. The IMA urges all sides involved in the violence in the Middle East to respect press freedom, and to take every care to protect journalists’ safety.
Since Hamas launched its unprecedented attack against Israel on 6 October and Israel subsequently declared war on the militant Palestinian group, launching strikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip, at least 15 journalists have been killed, eight injured, and three missing, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes press freedom worldwide. CPJ is investigating all reports of journalists killed, injured, detained or missing in the conflict.
Among the journalists killed are:
Salam Mema, a freelance journalist
Mohamed Fayez Abu Matar, a freelance photojournalist, killed in Gaza
Ayelet Arnin, Israeli Broadcasting Corporation Kan
Yaniv Zohar, photographer for Israel Hayom
Ahmed Shehab, a journalist for Sowt Al-Asra Radio, killed along with his wife and three children in Gaza
Issam Abdallah, a videographer for Reuters, killed in Lebanon
Saeed al-Taweel, editor-in-chief of the Al-Khamsa News website
Mohammed Sobh, a photographer from Khabar News Agency
Hisham Alnwajha, a “Khabar” news agency journalist
Mohammad Al-Salhi, a photojournalist working for the Fourth Authority news agency
Mohammad Jarghoun, a journalist with Smart Media
Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi, a photographer for Ain Media.
Among the journalists injured were:
Ibrahim Qanan, a correspondent for Al-Ghad channel, injured in Gaza
Tamer Almisshal, an Al Jazeera journalist whose home was bombed by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Among the journalists missing in the conflict are:
Nidal Al-Wahidi from the Al-Najah channel and Haitham Abdelwahid from the Ain Media agency, both missing in Gaza
IMA also rejects the move by Israel's Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel to shut down Al Jazeera's local bureau. This is a violation of press freedom and the right to information, and will only help those responsible for war crimes to hide them from the world.
The IMA stands with journalists who are risking their lives to report from the besieged Gaza Strip. In Jerusalem, we have seen Palestinian journalists, including Al Jazeera staff, attacked or killed by Israeli soldiers. We have also heard the testimony of Sami Abu Salem, a Palestinian journalist and IFJ safety trainer, who said: “There is no safe place in Gaza.”
The IMA also denounces the incident of an Israeli police officer threatening and screaming at a reporter live on air in Ashkelon. Ahmad Darawsha from Alaraby Television Network was covering live on the ground when a man dressed like an officer approached him and shouted at him to stop filming. The man said he would shoot him if he did not comply and pushed his camera away. The incident was captured on video and shared widely on social media. This is an unacceptable act of intimidation and harassment against a journalist who was doing his job.
The IMA calls on the international community to intervene urgently to stop Israel's aggression where it is putting civilians and journalists at risk, and to ensure that warfare is proportionate and targeted only against those responsible for the atrocities committed against Israeli citizens last week.
The IMA also urges all media outlets and journalists to report accurately on the situation in Gaza, and to fairly amplify the voices of the Palestinian civilians who are under occupation (as well as other civilians caught up in the conflict).
Notes to the Editor
The IMA Board felt it necessary to issue this statement as some of our members are actively covering the conflict. The recent surge in violence against journalists is deeply troubling, and we express our unequivocal condemnation of such acts against journalists worldwide.
At the time of writing, all information was accurate. This is an unfolding crisis, and the information available may change. If an error is identified to us, we will correct this notice.
Interviews with the IMA Board can be arranged via WhatsApp: +44 7840425718.