23 July 2006
IFJ Condemns ‘Deplorable’ Israeli Attack on Media in Lebanon and Killing of TV Employee
The International Federation of Journalists today condemned Israeli air raids on Saturday that hit transmission stations used by several Lebanese television channels and the reported killing of a media worker working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.
Two others were wounded in the strikes when relay stations for Future TV, Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television and the nation's leading private network, Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, were attacked by Israeli bombs.
“These attacks once again put media in the front line of the conflict,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “They represent an appalling threat to press freedom and to the safety of media staff and cannot be justified.”
The IFJ says that the attacks broaden Israel’s assault on media beyond Hezbollah's Al-Manar television which was attacked last week. The strike against Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s leading private broadcaster, underlined the Federation’s concern about targeting, which it says is dangerous but ineffective in stifling media. Al-Manar reportedly only went off the air for less than 10 minutes during the pounding.
“The bombarding of media facilities is a deplorable assault on the democratic infrastructure of Lebanon,” said White. “It was inevitable that media staff will become the victims when this policy comes into effect.”
The IFJ has protested vigorously over targeting of media in conflict zones since the 1999 NATO strike on Radio Television Serbia in Belgrade when 16 media staff were killed. It has since condemned strikes against media in Palestine, Indonesia, Iraq and Pakistan where combatants have made strikes against media houses reporting from one side in a conflict.
“Once media are attacked with impunity, journalists on all sides are at risk,” said White. “We insist that journalists and unarmed media must be regarded at all times as non-combatants and must not be attacked by military forces.”
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries