IFJ Mission Starts Visit to Palestine with Meetings in Ramallah and Nablus

A mission of the International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) started yesterday a four-day visit to the Occupied

Palestinian Territories at the invitation of its affiliate, the Palestinian

Journalists' Syndicate (PJS).

As well as meeting the newly elected leadership of the

PJS, the aim of the mission, says the IFJ, is to investigate the continuing

consequences of the Israeli occupation and the blockade of Gaza and East

Jerusalem on the work of all journalists and media workers and its impact on

their safety and identify actions to ameliorate the problems of freedom of

movement of journalists in the region.

On its first day, the mission met PJS officials

and their new leadership at their headquarters in Ramallah to discus safety of

journalists, and the action needed to improve their freedom of movement.

"It is unacceptable to the world community of

journalists that Israeli soldiers continue to attack Palestinian journalists in

total impunity," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "The PJS has monitored 60

cases of attacks in the last three months. This is getting out of control and

must stop immediately. As the occupying power, Israeli civilian and military authorities

must discipline and prosecute soldiers who are guilty of violence against

journalists".

The mission heard cases of the immense obstacles

to freedom of movement that Palestinian journalists continue to face daily

while doing their job. Earlier in the day, the PJS and IFJ made statements

condemning Israel's decision to ban Younes M'Jahed, IFJ senior vice president

and president of the Moroccan Press Union, from entering the Occupied

Palestinian Territories to participate in the work of the IFJ mission.

"The ban on the IFJ senior vice-president is

testimony of the serious hurdles that journalists face daily in moving around

chasing up their stories," said Boumelha. "The IFJ is ready to relaunch its

campaign on freedom of movement to impress on the Israeli authorities of the

necessity to guarantee that journalists are able to move freely to do they work

and recognise the IFJ press card."

On its second day, members of the mission travelled

to Nablus to meet Palestinian journalists working in the growing number of

radio and TV stations which constitute the city's vibrant media. The mission

heard details of the challenges they face, including their difficulties in

protecting their transmitters and frequency constantly under threat from Israeli

authorities as well as the exorbitant licensing tax demands by the Palestinian

authorities. A vigorous campaign by the PJS has succeeded in the cancelling of

the debts and setting up of fairer licence fees.

"We were pleased to see the extraordinary

progress made by the new leadership of the union in their first six months,

including their preparations to strengthen their union as the authoritative

voice of journalists in Palestine," said Boumelha. "A great deal remains to be

done to improve the professional status and working conditions of Palestinian

journalists and confront the numerous threats and violations they continue to

face daily."

The mission includes the IFJ President Jim Boumelha,

IFJ Executive members Franco Siddi (General Secretary of the Italian Federazione

Nazionale della Prensa Italiana) and Eva Stabell (Norwegian Norsk Journalistlag) and European Federation of Journalists

Steering Committee member Androula Georgiadou (Union of Cyprus Journalists) and

Monir Zaarour, IFJ Middle East and Arab World co-ordinator..

 

For more information, please contact Monir Zaarour on + 32 472 5876 90

 

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries