The International Federation of Journalists today called the shooting of a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah during street protests over Israeli actions in the town a "new and tragic act of media persecution that compounds Israeli violations of Palestinian rights."
The journalist Esam Al Tellawe, working for the Voice of Palestine radio, was shot dead on Sunday morning while he was working in Ramallah. He died immediately from a single gunshot wound. The incident took place, says the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, during a peaceful public protest over the Israeli isolation of President Yasser Arafat gathering several thousands of people. Tellawe was wearing a press jacket, thus clearly identified as a civilian working journalist.
"This year has seen the intensification of actions against Palestinian journalists," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This killing adds to the tragedy of Palestinian media caught in the crossfire of the conflict." The IFJ, which has carried out risk-awareness training in Palestinian areas earlier this year, says the killing is another reminder that the authorities on both sides of the conflict must take action to protect media staff.
"In particular, the Israeli authorities must allow journalists to move freely and they must recognise the right of Palestinian journalists to report freely on what is happening in the region," said White.