IFJ condemns targetting of journalists in Gaza
19 November 2012
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the international community to investigate deliberate attacks by Israeli military against media buildings in Gaza.
At least six journalists were injured, including cameraman Khader al Zarah who lost a leg after their offices came under sustained bombing from Israel's military which targeted in the early hours of Sunday Al Shawa and Husari where several media organisations, including Hamas' TB Al Quds TV, Al Qudsa radio, Maan network and many other radio stations are based. Another media facility, the Asshurouq building, which houses Sky, ITN, Al Arabiya TV and Abu Dhabi TV was also attacked.
Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, said:
"We demand a full inquiry by the United Nations to investigate the attacks and to take action against the Government of Israel.
"The international community must respond immediately to this outrage. The rights of journalists in conflict zones have been particularly highlighted by the United Nations and members states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner."
The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS) condemned the bombing and the National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ) has called for the respect of journalists' safety.
The Israeli authorities reportedly told the Foreign Press Association in Israel that the army targetted the antenna on the media buildings, but journalists who escaped from the Al Quds TV building told the PJS affiliate that three floors of the building were bombed.
The IFJ says that these recent attacks serve as a reminder of the government's failure to protect journalists covering armed conflicts. The Federation recalls a similar direct assault on media houses took place the 22-day military offensive by the Israeli army on Gaza in 2009.
The issue of journalists' protection is scheduled to be debated at a UN Inter-agency meeting in Vienna next week and the Federation is urging the UN to take governments to task over their international obligations on this matter.
Jim Boumelha added:
"The reckless intimidation of media by the Israeli Defense Force on a shocking scale should not go unpunished. If it does, it leaves journalists and media exposed to the threat of attack in any conflict at any time in the future."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary said:
"The targetting of journalists and media workers must stop immediately. These attacks are a disgraceful attempt to intimidate the press and prevent journalists from reporting unfolding events.
"This is not the first time that the Israeli authorities have deliberately turned their fire on media houses and the journalists they have a duty to protect. The international community must condemn such actions in the strongest possible terms and launch an immediate investigation into these attacks."