Palestine: Strike call after security forces attack journalists covering demonstrations

Palestinian security forces have repeatedly attacked and harassed journalists covering recent anti-government demonstrations across the West Bank. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), has responded by calling on all Palestinian journalists to strike to protest against the violent attacks on media workers.

Palestinian demonstrators lift placards during a rally in Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank. Credits: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

Since the killing of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat on 24 June, thousands of civilians have joined demonstrations against the government across the West Bank and called for an independent investigation into his killing.

During the demonstrations, Palestinian Authority security forces are targeting media workers, threatening, beating, detaining and seizing their work equipment.

The PJS documented at least six attacks against journalists:

  1. Beating and detaining journalist Aqeil Awawdeh, he needed medication and was taken to the hospital.

  2. Detaining journalist Mohammed Hamayel

  3. Beating and detaining woman journalist Mais Abu Ghoush

  4. Beating woman journalist Hind Shraidi

  5. Beating journalist Moammar Orabi

  6. Confiscating equipment and personal mobile phone of journalist Badr Abu Nijm”

Several journalists, including a number of women, were attacked and their equipment was damaged or confiscated by security forces while they were covering previous demonstrations in Ramallah held on 26 and 27 June. 

These attacks followed the Prime Minister’s speech guaranteeing that the rights to protest and freedom of expression were being protected. The PJS called on journalists on 4 July to boycott the media coverage of the Palestinian Authority’s government, as well as their news conferences until those responsible for the attacks against media workers are held responsible.

On Tuesday 6 July, the PJS released a statement calling for a strike to protest against the unsafe environment in which Palestinian journalists are forced to carry out their work

 “The PJS calls on all Palestinian journalists to participate in a strike, stop working and organise vigils in front of their working places. It also calls on Palestinian media in West Bank and Gaza and the diaspora to suspend work and broadcast between 12:00-13:00 on Tuesday.” According to the PJS, many journalists joined in the strike.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We join the PJS in condemning these unjustifiable targeted attacks on journalists. We call on the Palestinian authorities to prosecute the aggressors and guarantee journalists’ safety when covering public demonstrations”.