The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the shooting of Palestinian photographer Mohammad Az Zanoun, who was shot by Israeli forces as he took photographs in Gaza.
“The IFJ is calling on the Israeli government to protect all media staff covering the conflict in the region,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Palestinian photographers and journalists should not be the targets of the military or anyone else in the region and we are urging the Israeli and Palestinian governments to make sure they are protected.”
Az Zanoun, a photographer for Palestine’s Ma’an News Agency, was shot while taking photographs on Saturday in Zaitoun, where he lives. He was first hit by shrapnel in the mouth and finger but kept on working, Ma’an News Agency said in a report published on its web site. He was then shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers.
He underwent surgery after the shooting and is still in the hospital, the agency said.
“These ruthless attacks must stop,” said Naim Tobassi, President of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS). “The PJS firmly believes that there is attempt by the Israeli authorities to put a dark veil over all these crimes. We have sent a letter to Prime Minister Olmert and to the Israeli Minister of Defense to call on them to take measures to protect Palestinian journalists.”
Last year, the IFJ condemned Israel’s investigation into the killing of British cameraman James Miller by soldiers almost two years earlier. The military said the soldier responsible for the killing could only be disciplined for violating rules of engagement and changing his story about the incident. At least nine journalists and media staffers have been killed in the Occupied Territories since 2000, all by Israeli gunfire. In most cases, the army has failed to conduct serious investigations or publicly account for them.
For further information contact the IFJ: +32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.