IFJ Makes New Call for End to Attacks on Media in Middle East Conflict

The International Federation of Journalists today called on all sides in the Middle East conflict to halt attacks on journalists and media following new reports of injuries to reporters on the spot.

“As violence intensifies it is clear that media are coming under fire from all sides,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

Reuters cameraman Rami Amichai was wounded in the leg by shrapnel in a Hezbollah rocket attack while filming in the Israeli coastal city.

Last week Israel attacked the Hezbollah television station Al-Manar and three journalists working for the Lebanese satellite television channel New TV were seriously wounded when their car was struck during Israel’s bombardment of the al-Mahmoudiyeh Bridge in southern Lebanon. Reporter Bassel al-Aridi, cameraman Abed Khayat, and assistant cameraman Ziad Sawan were seriously injured.

The IFJ has rejected claims that its outspoken criticism of Israeli attacks on Al-Manar in Beirut is “taking sides” in the region’s conflict. “We do not endorse or support the views of any particular media organisation, but we do insist that all media should be treated as non-combatants,” said White.

Journalists in the region are also facing obstructions when they try to cover the conflict.

The IFJ has called on Israel to release Walid Al Omari, Al Jazeera Bureau Chief who is still being held without explanation after he and his colleague were detained yesterday. The Palestine Journalists Syndicate, an IFJ affiliate, reports that the authorities were obstructing Al Jazeera crews from covering the confrontation in Lebanon from northern Israel. Al Jazeera correspondent, Ilyas Karram was held for a time just as a wave of Hezbollah missiles hit Haifa.

“The obstruction, intimidation and violence against media make it impossible for journalists to work safely and freely,” said White.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries