Palestine: Union criticises AP for arbitrary dismissal of senior cameraman

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) has strongly criticized the firing of Associated Press (AP) photojournalist Iyad Hamad in what it considers an “arbitrary and unfair” dismissal. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the PJS in condemning the firing and calls on AP to reconsider its decision.

AP said it had warned Iyad in the past about his public actions and views expressed on social media platforms, which were unrelated to his professional role as a cameraman. AP said it took the decision to dismiss him after it received a complaint from the Palestinian police about his behaviour, relating to a demonstration in front of a government building in Bethlehem. 

The PJS said it will defend Iyad against this unfair dismissal and called on the agency to step back from its decision.

The PJS also said that the agency warned Iyad Hamad after he participated in a  solidarity demonstration with journalist Moaz Amarneh, a photojournalist who lost his eye in an Israeli army attack in Hebron in November 2019. The PJS condemned this warning and called on the agency to cancel it.

According to the PJS, Iyad Hamad is well-known for his “professionalism and dedication to his work”. The photojournalist has long-experience in reporting in Palestine and had suffered attacks by the Israeli forces in the past.

The PJS said: “We consider this is an unfair, arbitrary and totally unjustified decision. We will continue our defence for the human and professional rights of journalists and media freedom in Palestine”.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary said: "It is a fundamental right for journalists to show solidarity with their colleagues who are harmed or facing a crisis, this is the founding principle of our trade union movement. It is outrageous that an international media would give a journalist a final warning for showing solidarity with his colleagues without his employer's permission. AP must reverse this shameful decision."

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

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