Defiant Journalists Back Ethical Campaign for Palestinian Media

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

political difficulties.

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

work." 

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.  

For more

information contact the IFJ at

  +32 2 235 2207       

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide