Call to EU for protection of journalists and press freedom in the Israel-Gaza war

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Tomas Vynikal

Free Press Unlimited signed a letter initiated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to the EU representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, calling for better protection of journalists and press freedom in the Israel-Gaza war. The war has already lead to the killing of at least 83 journalists and media workers in Israel, Gaza and Lebanon. An unprecedented number.

The letter states that more journalists have been killed in the first 10 weeks of the hostilities than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year, according to data collected by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

There is growing evidence that, in some cases, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) may have deliberately targeted these journalists. The IDF has for example acknowledged deliberately targeting a car in which journalists were traveling on January 7, killing two journalists and seriously injuring a third. Of course, the targeted or indiscriminate killing of journalists, if committed deliberately or recklessly, is a war crime.

But journalists reporting on the war face more challenges beyond the ever-present risk of death. The letter names the refusal of Israel and Egypt to allow international journalists access to Gaza except under Israeli military escort (and even then, with restrictions on reporting), internet shutdowns that prevent news and testimonies from Gaza from reaching the outside world, arbitrary detention, and harassment and intimidation.

Together with CPJ and all organisations who signed the letter, Free Press Unlimited urges the European Union to play its part in ensuring that all parties to the conflict abide by international law, including the protection of journalists who are civilians and must be able to freely and safely report on every aspect of the conflict.

The letter lists four recommendations. Read the full letter here:

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