The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) today concluded the launch of its programme to support
ethical journalism in Palestine
with a series of proposals to strengthen independent media even in the face of
The launch conference of the
IFJ Ethical Journalism Initiative, held in Ramallah on the West Bank, adopted a
programme that includes
fresh initiatives to help improve media standards and to carve out an independent
role for journalists who face an enormous range of political problems caused by
the Israeli occupation and infighting between Palestinian political groups in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
"This meeting hammered home a
strong message -- journalists are determined to defend their rights and are
committed to high standards," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "At the
same time they are committed to fighting political interference in their
The conference concluded with
proposals for local workshops on journalism and publication of a series of
short manuals and guidelines on ethical questions. There are also plans for a
Palestinian Journalism Review which will independently monitor the state of the
media and journalism.
"These proposals, which we
will develop in co-operation with local partners, are a sign that Palestinian
journalism is on the move," said White. "The meeting underlined the importance
of moves towards re-launching the Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS),
through a transparent and inclusive process, as a vital part of creating a
united front for independent journalism."
The launch of the IFJ
campaign had been disrupted by the Hamas Government which banned a simultaneous
meeting in Gaza.
They justified their action by claiming that it could not proceed without their
co-operation. As a result around 50 Gaza
journalists were unable to join the Ramallah meeting by video link. The IFJ
also condemned the hostile questioning of PJS leader Sakher Abu el Oun
yesterday by Hamas officials for his role in trying to organise the meeting in Gaza.
"We shall do everything we
can to ensure that Gaza
journalists are part of this work," said White. "We will try again over the
next few weeks to hold a meeting on the spot in Gaza."
The IFJ says that
intimidation of journalists by the political authorities is intolerable and has
to stop. The Federation is calling for all restrictions on journalists in Gaza and the West Bank to
be lifted. There is particularly concern over the continued Hamas ban on a
number of media organisations in Gaza since 2007.
information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide