Jerusalem Journalists Propose Forum to Confront Crisis Facing Israeli and Palestinian Media Staff

Israeli journalists

have spoken out against restrictions on freedom of movement facing reporters in

Palestine and

propose a joint forum with Palestinian colleagues to deal with a range of

problems facing media and journalists in the region.

In a meeting with a

delegation from the International Federation of Journalists in Jerusalem last

week leaders of the Jerusalem Association of Journalists proposed setting up a regional

forum to encourage joint action by Palestinian and Israeli journalists on

issues such as safety and freedom of movement. They also suggest setting up a hotline

to help journalists in trouble.

"This would be a

major step forward for journalists," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "Joint

action by Israeli and Palestinian journalists to tackle problems both groups

face -- such as restrictions on freedom of movement - will strengthen efforts

to remove obstacles to the exercise of journalism."

Palestinian journalists say that restrictions

on movement between Gaza and the West Bank are proving an obstacle to organising a

conference of their syndicate.

Haim Shibi, Head of

the Jerusalem Association of Journalists Committee on foreign relations, said:

"We recognise the problems. It is clearly unacceptable that Palestinian

journalists are unable to meet to organise themselves. Israel should

allow journalists to move freely and all journalists, both

Palestinian and Israeli, should be able to carry out their professional

duties in safety and without fear or intimidation. That is a challenge, too,

for the Palestinian Authority."

The meeting between

the IFJ and the Jerusalem

colleagues covered concerns over stalled negotiations with employers on a new collective

agreement. Journalists are under pressure because of declining

working conditions, falling media quality and attacks on public broadcasting.

It was also agreed to strengthen links between the National Federation of Israel

Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists.

For more information contact the IFJ

at +32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents over 600,000

journalists in 120 countries worldwide