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IFJ and PFUJ stand in solidarity with Palestinian Journalists

BRUSSELS/KARACHI/LAHORE: Anthony Bellanger Gen. Sec. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), G. M. Jamali President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Secretary General PFUJ Rana Muhammad Azeem have strongly condemned deliberate attacks on Media and Journalists in Gaza. 

IFJ had called on the UN Security Council to take urgent action to stop the deliberate and systematic targeting of journalists in Gaza. The call came after a third building housing media, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, was destroyed by Israeli bombs. The IFJ strongly condemned the attack.

More than 30 journalists have also been attacked or detained. Internet services have been blocked. In the wake of the attacks the IFJ has written to the Israeli authorities and to the UN Secretary General and all Security Council members demanding an end to the deliberate and systematic targeting of media and journalists and a clear attempt to silence those reporting from on the ground in Gaza.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Israel is in breach of its international obligations. UN Security Council Resolution 1738 specifically demands that States protect journalists and their support staff working in conflict environments. This outrageous targeting of media must stop”.

The IFJ has repeatedly called on the Israeli government to investigate attacks and targeted killings of Palestinian media workers. The IFJ also denounced the situation to the United Nations, submitting formal complaints to the Special Rapporteurs in December 2020. The IFJ believes that the lack of transparent investigations and the rampant impunity for those who commit these crimes are a breeding ground for continued attacks against media across Palestine and Israel.

PFUJ, while condemning Israel for attacks on Media Houses and killing of innocent civilians (including over fifty children) in Palestine, called for a country-wide protest. PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem have termed the attack on Media Houses and innocent civilians a violation of UN Charter and against the human rights of the Civilians of the Palestine while it was tantamount to ignore the UN laws & challenge rest of the world.

PFUJ leadership, noting that European countries, who had been championing the cause of human rights,  were silent to condemn the Israeli forces, said that they were equally culpable. The PFUJ leadership said that Gaza-based International & Local Media Houses  were just informing the humanity about the Israel attacks on innocent citoyens of Palestine.  Since that was not tolerated by the Israel government it demolished the Media Houses asking the occupants to evacuate within ten minutes.

IFJ earlier held, Media offices have been bombed and Palestinian and international journalists arrested, beaten, and threatened by Israeli forces amid escalating violence in Gaza. IFJ stands in solidarity with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and all Palestinian and foreign media workers targeted and demands immediate international action to hold Israel accountable for its deliberate targeting of journalists and the media.

On the night of 11 May, the Israeli military bombed the Al-Jawhara tower, located in Gaza, which hosts the offices of 13 media institutions and NGOs. The PJS said the attack was deliberate and targeted. There were no injuries as journalists evacuated their offices after the Israeli army warned some of the media that the building would be bombed. However, media organisations lost their equipment. The IFJ said the Israeli government must compensate the media for their financial losses.

The offices of the media organizations – The National Information Agency, Palestine Newspaper, Al-Arabi Channel, Al-Ittijah TV, Al-Nujaba TV, the Syrian TV, Al-Kufiya Channel, Al Mamalaka channel, APA Agency, Sabq Agency 24, Bawaba 24, the Palestinian Media Forum, the Palestinian Forum for Democratic Dialogue and Development – were completely destroyed. The offices of Al-Jazeera TV, adjacent to the targeted building, were also damaged.

Spanish news agency EFE’s correspondent in Jerusalem said on Twitter that their correspondent in Gaza had to flee its office at Al-Jawhara tower after a warning message from the Israeli military. In addition to the targeted attacks against media organizations in Gaza, the PJS reported that the Israeli forces arrested photojournalist Hazem Nasser in the West Bank on 12th May. Since the beginning of the events in Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities have arrested at least 27 media workers in what the PJS and other press groups denounced as a clear attempt to silence media reporting on the ground.

The PJSstated: “The PJS calls on all the guarantors of freedom of journalistic work, especially the United Nations and its organizations and the Red Cross to provide urgent field protection for journalists, and to activate Security Council Resolution 2222 so to obligate the occupation to implement and respect it.”

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We stand in solidarity with all the Palestinian journalists and the PJS during these hard moments. The international community cannot turn a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights and the deliberate targeting of media and journalists. Urgent actions must be taken to hold those responsible for these crimes internationally accountable”.

In December 2020 the IFJ submitted two complaints to the UN Special Rapporteurs over Israel’s systematic targeting of journalists working in Palestine and its failure to properly investigate killings of media workers which the complaint states are “a violation of the right to life, freedom of expression and in breach of international law and may amount to war crimes”. | YouTube Channel



M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.