ARTICLE 19 condemns the killing of three Palestinian journalists, Mohammed Salehi, Ibrahim Lafi, and Assad Abdel Nasser Shamlakh,[mfn]Palestinian Media Center: The occupation has killed 3 journalists since its aggression against Gaza began (9 October 2023) https://palinfo.com/news/2023/10/09/853344 [/mfn] and the disappearance of two other journalists between 7 and 10 October 2023. There have also been reports of at least three more journalists losing their lives since initial reports were released. We also express concern for those journalists who sustained injuries.[mfn]JSC, Tragic Developments In Palestine: A Rise in the Number of Journalists Killed and Victims and Violations of the Israeli Occupation (09 Octobre 2023) https://www.journalistsupport.net/article.php?id=379052&token=7e545d22fc89185ccdb8568011fa8801&fbclid=IwAR3yINyyUoBGiarP93clah-952V5jD-GOR9j-aaqpxWnHftEukRCDS7tTuM [/mfn] ARTICLE 19 notes that at the time of these events, the journalists were on the ground in the Gaza Strip, carrying out their journalistic duties covering the ongoing armed conflict between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip that began on Saturday, 7 October. ARTICLE 19 condemns the attacks on civilians in Israel, Gaza and the occupied West Bank. ARTICLE 19 calls on all parties involved to respect international treaties, fulfil their responsibilities to protect journalists, and put in place the necessary measures to prevent attacks against them.
Violence against journalists continues to escalate in the region, and has been on the increase since 2000. During that time, the number of journalists shot dead by Israeli forces and other Israeli authorities has risen to 50, according to the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedom (Mada).[mfn]Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms: “Mada”: Israeli occupation kills journalists in Gaza and perpetrates crimes against media freedoms in Palestine (08 October 2023) https://www.madacenter.org/article/1837/ [/mfn] The centre also reported that many media organisations have been totally or partially destroyed during this period, including the Al-Ayyam newspaper headquarters in Burj, Palestine, the Fadl Shanaa Foundation, the Shahab Agency, and Gaza FM Radio.
ARTICLE 19 expresses grave concern about current events and urges the Israeli government and security forces to uphold their obligation to protect journalists and all media professionals during armed and unarmed conflicts. Ensuring the safety of journalists in the field is vital to ensuring the continued flow of information and to upholding the right to freedom of expression.
ARTICLE 19 emphasises the importance of maintaining respect for international humanitarian law regarding the safety of journalists working in areas of armed conflict, which stipulates that journalists are civilians and are entitled to protection as such in all situations of armed conflict. The United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists[mfn]https://www.ohchr.org/ar/safety-of-journalists/un-plan-action-safety-journalists-and-issue-impunity [/mfn] also emphasises that the equipment and premises of media organisations should be treated as civilian objects and should not subjected to attack or reprisal unless there is clear evidence that they are being used for military operations.[mfn] https://www.ohchr.org/ar/safety-of-journalists/un-plan-action-safety-journalists-and-issue-impunity [/mfn]
ARTICLE 19 also expresses concern at the escalating situation of conflict and violence in the region and its potential for further suppression of freedom of information and expression.[mfn]https://www.article19.org/issue/safety-of-journalists-and-human-rights-defenders/[/mfn] We note that several students received “expulsion or termination letters” from the Haifa University Administration as reported and re-published by the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel-Adalah in a statement on 8 October.[mfn]Adalah – The Legal Center For Arab Minority Rights In Israel[/mfn] ARTICLE 19 fears that these decisions may be linked to students’ expression and peaceful interaction on social networks in response to developments in the region.
ARTICLE 19 reiterates that all parties involved must respect international treaties, fulfil their responsibilities to protect journalists, and put in place the necessary measures to prevent attacks against them.
As we prepare to commemorate 2 November, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, ARTICLE 19 calls for an investigation into the killings of the three Palestinian journalists:, Mohammed Salehi, Ibrahim Lafi, and Assad Abdel Nasser Shamlakh. We also emphasise our call for the speedy publication of the results of the investigation into the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, which occurred on 11 May 2022.