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Probe highlights ‘attack on press freedom’ in Gaza war

Probe highlights ‘attack on press freedom’ in Gaza war

Probe highlights ‘attack on press freedom’ in Gaza war

A collaborative investigation by international media outlets on Tuesday shed light on the circumstances behind more than 100 Palestinian journalists and media workers who were killed in the Gaza war, some while wearing a press vest.

A consortium led by investigative body Forbidden Stories and involving around 50 journalists from 13 organisations, including the AFP, The Guardian and the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) group took part in the four-month investigation.

She reviewed attacks involving journalists and media infrastructure since Israel launched a devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to the unprecedented attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Israel on 7 October.

“Over 100 journalists and media workers have been killed,” said Laurent Richard of Forbidden Stories in an editorial accompanying the Gaza Project publication.

“Today’s journalists in Gaza have long known that their ‘press’ news does not protect them,” he wrote.

“Even worse, the protective gear could expose them even more.”

Carlos Martinez de la Serna of the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed his shock at the toll.

“This is one of the most blatant attacks on press freedom that I can remember,” he told the inquiry.

The Israeli military said it “does not intentionally harm journalists and that journalists may have been injured during airstrikes or operational activities targeting military targets.”

“Many of the cases mentioned in the report are actually cases of militants who were killed in the course of military activity but reported as journalists,” he added.

– “They should identify us and protect us” –

The investigation found that four journalists were allegedly killed or injured by a drone while wearing a press vest.

Fourteen in total were killed, injured or allegedly targeted while wearing the protective gear, described as members of the “press”.

At least 40 journalists and media workers were killed while at home in Gaza, he added.

“While the press release was supposed to identify and protect us under international laws … now it is a threat to us,” said Basel Khair al-Din, a Palestinian journalist in Gaza who believes he was targeted of a drone strike while carrying a drone. press release.

ARIJ also interviewed 239 surviving journalists between June 6 and June 16. More than 200 were displaced from their wartime homes, he found.

Seventy-two said they had lost family members. Of these, 11 reported that their own children had been killed.

As part of the investigation, AFP reviewed with other media outlets a strike on its Gaza bureau on November 2, after its staff evacuated but while it was still broadcasting a live feed of the war from a balcony camera or.

They found that the strike was likely caused by an Israeli tank.

The Israeli military said the office was not targeted, but damage to it may have been caused by a “shock wave or shrapnel” from another attack.

AFP global news director Phil Chetwynd called for a “very clear and transparent investigation” by Israeli authorities into the incident.

– “Completely unacceptable” –

He also said that more than 100 journalists and media workers being killed in the Gaza Strip in such a short time is “completely unacceptable”.

“And the thing that worries me the most is that it doesn’t cause an uproar. Around the world, I don’t see the voices of different governments complaining,” he added.

The Hamas attack on southern Israel has killed 1,195 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

The militants also captured hostages, of whom 116 remain in Gaza, although the military says 42 are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,626 people, also mostly civilians, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said.

Shuruq Asad, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian Journalists Union (PJS), said more than 70 media offices had been bombed since the start of the war and that she too was surprised by the lack of global outrage.

“I don’t think this would be the reaction of the world if 100 Ukrainian journalists were killed,” she said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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