The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) raised their concerns over press safety following the attack against Israeli soldiers on 16 October by a Palestinian posing as a journalist with fake press identification.
The incident occurred as a young Palestinian man mingled on Friday 16 October with journalists covering a clash between Palestinian civilians and Israeli troops in the city of Hebron in the West Bank. Wearing a flash jacket and a T-shirt with a fake "press" logo, he approached a soldier and stabbed him before being shot dead. PJS confirmed that the killed young man was not a journalist and did not work for any Palestinian, Arab, or foreign media organisation.
This is not the first time that such incident occurs in the region. In 2007 the IFJ and PJS already denounced the use by gunmen in Gaza of a vehicle marked with the words “TV” in an attack on Israeli forces as an “outrageous violation of rights that puts journalists everywhere at risk”.
“ The use of fake press identifications can seriously jeopardise our colleagues’ safety on the ground by making fighters believe that media insignia are being used to mask their adversaries, thus making journalists a target” said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “ We recall that journalists worthy of the name stand by high ethical standards such as those listed in the IFJ Code of principles which they are called to observe faithfully. While operating in conflict zones, they should be recognised as civilians and be treated as such in accordance with international law.”
“Posing as a journalist or using their uniforms or any of their identification as a press corps might jeopardise journalists’ lives, increase harassments against them, and give more excuses to the Israeli Forces to target them,” said PJS in a statement released on 16 October. “ The uniform that the young man was wearing is not similar to what the Palestinian journalists’ wear, which is known by Israeli Occupation Forces. PJS warns Israeli Authorities against using the Hebron incident to increase its aggressions against Palestinian journalists, which 70 of whom have already faced since the beginning of October 2015.”
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries