Palestine: PJS records 760 violations against Palestinian journalists in 2019

More than 750 violations against media workers were recorded in 2019, according to an annual report published by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS). While the number of violations decreased slightly compared to last year (909), the International Federation of Journalists remains deeply concerned about the "unacceptable level of attacks " on Palestinian journalists and its impact on press freedom.

An Israeli border guard scuffles with Palestinian journalists gathering during a demonstration in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank on November 17, 2019, in solidarity with Palestinian cameraman Mu'ath Amarneh. Credit: Hazem Bader / AFP

The PJS report records 760 violations against journalists, including 260 photojournalists and 46 female journalists. The majority of violations were due to electronic blocking of Palestinian journalists’ social media accounts and preventing media covering events (343 cases). The total number of violations has decreased, compared to 2018, when 909 cases were reported.

Media professionals still have to face many dangers in Palestine, as 210 violations were related to cases of physical bodily harm. There were accounts of gas inhalation, dozens of injuries caused by rubber-coated steel bullets, and at least ten serious injuries by live ammunition. There were also injuries caused by sound bombs going off during protests and journalists getting hit by teargas canisters aimed directly at their bodies.  

One of the most notorious cases was that of photojournalist Moath Amarneh, who lost an eye due to a rubber bullet shot by Israeli soldiers on November 15. There were also cases of detained journalists and arrests made by Israeli security forces. The IFJ has recently reported on the arbitrary arrest of Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem.

Despite the majority of the violations having taken place in territories under Israeli control, the PJS monitoring team also recorded violations carried out by Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza witnessed a significant number of  violations (160), most occurring during the “We Want to Live” protest movement. These included arrests, invasions of journalists’ houses and at least 20 counts of physical assault and even torture. In the West Bank there were a total of 94 violations registered, mostly the blocking of websites.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “This unacceptable level of attacks against Palestinian journalists must end. We are extremely concerned by the constant dangers Palestinian media workers have to face every year. We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian collegues, and call on the Israeli authorities to stop targeting journalists and on the Palestinian authorities to protect the right of journalists to carry out their duties safely.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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