Israel’s systematic targeting of journalists working in Palestine and its failure to properly investigate killings of media workers violates the rights to life and freedom of expression and may amount to war crimes, the International Federation of Journalists told the 47th Session of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking via video link, Jennifer Robinson, legal counsel to the IFJ and its affiliate the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) urged Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur, to act on their complaint submitted last December detailing the systematic targeting of journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Armaneh and Nedal Eshtayet – who were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza. All were wearing clearly marked PRESS vests at the time they were shot.
The IFJ has repeatedly condemned the deliberate targeting of journalists and media facilities by Israel. At least 46 journalists have been killed since 2000 and no one has been held to account.
Ms Robinson, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, told the Council on July 1,“With ongoing impunity, the targeting continues. Just last month, Israel bombed media facilities in Gaza, including the Associated Press offices, and at least two journalists were killed and another 100 injured in separate incidents. The IFJ and PJS consider this to be a clear attempt by Israel to silence media reporting on the ground.
“The international community and this Council depend upon accurate and impartial reporting on the ground in Palestine. The targeting of journalists and media organisations in Palestine prevents this essential reporting. This violates not just the rights of journalists, but also the rights we all have to receive information about events in Palestine.
“This targeting must stop and those responsible must be held accountable”.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said, “To help put an end to impunity the Special Rapporteur must progress the complaint. The journalists and their families deserve justice and the IFJ working with the PJS and Doughty Street Chambers is determined to ensure those responsible for crimes against journalists are held accountable.”
- A Tell/IFJ report