The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Hamas leaders in Palestine to avoid any intimidation of journalists and to release any journalists rounded up in the Gaza Strip following the violent confrontation of recent days.
The IFJ was particularly concerned at reports that Tawfiq abu Khousa, a leader of the Palestine Journalists’ Syndicate in Gaza was among people associated with the Fatah Palestinian group rounded up by rival Hamas militants yesterday.
“The tragedy of conflict between elements of the Palestinian leadership is made worse if journalists and their leaders are targeted,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “All journalists and leaders of the journalists’ community should be allowed to continue their activities without any political interference or intimidation.”
The IFJ also expressed concern that the latest conflict and the declaration of emergency in the region might harm current efforts to seek the release of kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston who has been held in Gaza for three months.
“This current conflict has created a dangerous climate for the community and for journalism,” said White. “The story needs to be reported, but when the streets of Gaza and the West Bank are in the hands of armed groups every journalist is potentially at risk. Both Hamas and Fatah groups should ensure journalists and others are free to do their jobs without fearing for their lives.”
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide