Israel continues its attack on press freedom in Gaza

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TRT Arabi Reporter, Reba Khalid al-Ajami reports from Gaza in a makeshift tent amid ongoing Israeli attacks in Rafah
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Abed Zagout / Anadolu

Free Press Unlimited considers the Israeli war cabinet's decision to close Al Jazeera's editorial offices in Israel with immediate effect for at least 45 days a serious attack on press freedom. Al Jazeera is one of the few foreign media companies with correspondents in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel has labelled the news organisation a ‘propagandist media outlet of Hamas’ on the basis of a bill passed last month that makes it possible to ban foreign news networks that are deemed a "security risk". Free Press Unlimited is extremely concerned about the impact of this law on the access to reliable information in and around Gaza.

With the ongoing attacks on Rafah by Israel, independent information is more crucial than ever. Without it, citizens in Gaza are deprived of the information they need to survive, such as safe zones, evacuation routes, and targeted areas. Yet, journalists in Gaza face particularly high risks as they try to cover the current assault and there are fears for a new communications blackout. Over 100 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 2023, and foreign journalists are consequently denied access. We strongly condemn the most recent move by the Israeli government to close the Al Jazeera offices, which has a huge impact on reliable information coming from Gaza and the situation in Rafah. Al Jazeera is one of the only foreign media companies with correspondents in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

No independent journalism in Gaza affects us all. The inevitable result is that the entire world will have no access to reliable information amid the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Media in neighbouring countries, with their networks of journalists, freelancers and fact-checkers, are an important link to ensure that all information about the situation in Gaza continues to be shared. Any supply of reliable and independent information should be protected.

Free Press Unlimited hereby reiterates its call on Israel to allow immediate access of foreign journalists to Gaza and to cease attacks on journalists so that they can continue their work safely. The international community needs to strongly reject the continuous attacks on press freedom by Israel. We need reliable information. Journalists need to be protected, now!

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Israel Palestine