IFJ Emergency Appeal to Aid Colleagues Under Fire Statement on Media Crisis in Palestine

The International Federation of Journalists today calls on journalists all around the world to express their solidarity with Palestinian media staff who are currently under siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Journalists everywhere are shocked by the levels of violence and the violations of human rights now being endured by journalists and others in the region. We urge all journalists to do everything they can to help our colleagues caught up in this catastrophic situation.

We deplore the victimisation of all media working in the Palestinian Territories and in particular of the Palestinian colleagues who have been denied press card accreditation. We demand an end to the targeting of journalists which has led to deaths and injury among media staff since the beginning of the latest Intifada. Casualties among journalists are growing. We demand an immediate ceasefire in this war against media and human rights.

In particular, we protest at the decision by the Israeli authorities to declare Ramallah a closed military zone and to expel media. We oppose this strategy for it amounts to censorship and will be self-defeating. Censorship will not bring peace, but will only lead to more ignorance, rumour and fear.

People who speak of democracy and then impose censorship to avoid public scrutiny make a mockery of the language of peace and human rights. The whole world is watching and if media are not allowed to work while rumours circulate of violations of human rights then the suspicion will be that Israel is engaged in a media cover-up.

This is a dirty and brutal war in which journalism is a victim. Palestinian media are victimised and prevented from functioning while, at the same time, less-than-subtle and partisan language of some Palestinian journalism tests the limits of professionalism.

Israel must lift the obstacles to free reporting and end all intimidation of Palestinian journalists and media. The cycle of censorship and violence must end and professionalism restored on all sides.

The IFJ calls on all of its member organisations to protest over the latest actions against media and to send their protests to the Prime Minister of Israel.

We also ask journalists to donate to an emergency humanitarian fund to help care for the injured Palestinian media staff and their families.

Palestinian journalists are among those most exposed in the current crisis. They do not have the support of large media organisations, many of them work as freelance in difficult conditions and all of them are being systematically victimised by the Israeli authorities. They need our support now.

Protests should be sent to:

Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister
Government of Israel
Fax: + 972 2 651 26 31

Daniel Seaman
Director, Government Press Office
Fax: + 972 2 625 78 86

Messages of Support should be sent to:

Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate
Fax: + 972 2 532 84 99
Email: [email protected]