Palestine: IFJ president expresses solidarity at PJS congress

IFJ President, Dominique Pradalié, is in Ramallah, Palestine, on 23 May at the congress of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and pays tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh, a year after her killing.

Credit : Frederic de Bellaing

On behalf of the 600.000 members of the International Federation of Journalists, I would like to express solidarity from 150 countries. Solidarity particularly with members of the profession that we share. I know how Palestinian journalists have suffered simply for exercising their duty to find information and to transmit it to the world.

Solidarity especially when Palestinian people are commemorating the 75 years of the “Catastrophy”, called “Nakba”.
Solidarity with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the IFJ’s affiliate in Palestine, whose kind invitation allows my to speak directly with you now.
Particularly in my thoughts today is Shereen Abu Akleh who was murdered in Jenin one year ago. Her family, her professional colleagues in Palestine and journalists all over the world still wait for truth, still wait for justice. But Anton will speak further of this situation. We have been cooperating with him and his family in submitting a complaint to the International Criminal Court.

All over the world, we know that the Palestinian journalists’ situation is becoming more and more difficult.

We pay tribute to the PJS leaders who over three decades have made their case to the rest of the world and taught us about the implications for us all of their situation.
It is so important that at this congress we remember and commemorate all your leaders who have fought so hard to keep the issues that confront you, on the international agenda, and on the IFJ’s agenda. We, in the IFJ, are so proud about the tremendous work you are doing in conditions more extreme than those faced by almost any other of our unions.. It is for this reason that our unions will always be at your side, to strengthen your resolve and to provide what help we can with your struggle. That bond, that unites journalist with journalist is vital and underpins all of our abilities to do our work. I know that solidarity is particularly important when facing the most extreme challenges, as I know you do.

Over many years, members of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate have been elected to important positions within the IFJ.

  • In the Seventies, Radwan Abu Ayash mobilized IFJ affiliates and the international community to let them know that that Palestinian journalists were constrained by the Israeli censors.
  • The first to be elected at the IFJ Executive Committee was Salah Zuhaika in 1992 at the IFJ Congress in Montreal.
  • Naïm Toubassi, was elected to the IFJ executive at the Athens Congress, in 2004.
  • Abdelnasser Najjar, was elected in the Cadiz Congress, in 2010, and was injured the 3r of May 2015, the World Press Freedom Day, during a demonstration for the International Press Card.
  • And our Congress last summer elected Nasser Abu Baker to be the IJFs Vice President.

During all these years, we have arranged a great many – more than a dozen – missions and visits to the region, issued scores of recommendations, and many reports, and released hundreds of statements protesting at the treatment and the killings and injuries of journalists at the hands of Israeli security forces, as well as criticising poor behaviour on the part of the Palestinian Authority, when necessary.

As a result, over the years, we presented countless recommendations on the safety and the working conditions of Palestinian journalists, on their status and their de-recognition as professionals by the Israeli authorities, as well as statements covering professionalism, dialogue and media development.

You just have to attend any of the IFJ congresses to realise the impact that Palestinian journalists’ issues have on their colleagues all over the world. At almost every congress of the IFJ, delegates never flinched from giving the strongest support to your union.

And we know this is not enough to put an end to the harrowing treatment you face day in day out while doing your jobs. And we don’t need to look very far to find disturbing evidence of the physical attacks on journalists in the West bank and Gaza and the continued detention without charge of journalists in Israel. Not a week passes by without a Palestinian journalist facing the prospect of being hit intentionally by a rubber bullet or being at the receiving end of a soldiers’ rifle butt, or in the worst scenario, being shot at. We have also seen the number of journalists attacked by Israeli settlers increase. All of this requires concerted international efforts to protect Palestinian journalists and put an end to the impunity of their aggressors.

All over the world, journalists are harassed, threatened and even killed by people who want to prevent us for doing our jobs. 67 were killed in 2022, most of them from Latin America.The killers and their sponsors act in near total impunity.

This is why, the IFJ has been fighting to put on the Agenda of the United Nations, a Convention for protection of the journalists. If we work with determination and in unity, I am confident that we will eventually enjoy just that professional protection; just that international recognition, and just that global guarantee that the rule of law will be

We thank your Government, Mister President, for helping us in this endeavour.

Finally, we, on behalf of the entire IFJ, can I say how pleased I am to see that Palestinian journalists have such a capable and committed union in the PJS. The growth and prosperity of your union is something that benefits journalists the world over.

Thank you.

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

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