Israel: IFJ condemns accusations of journalists’ involvement in 7 October attack

  • 10 Nov 2023

The NUJ has joined the IFJ in condemning statements by Israeli ministers accusing journalists of having prior knowledge of the Hamas-led massacre.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its outrage at unproven  allegations by Israeli communications Minister Shlomo Karhi against Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and CNN, of employing photojournalists who may have been accomplices in the attack on 7 October. All named media organisations have posted statements denying any prior knowledge of attacks.

Accusations arose after reporting by pro-Israel watchdog Honest, raised questions about the early-hours presence of journalists working for international media at the Israeli-Gaza border fence on the day of the attack, including whether they had prior knowledge. 

Danny Danon, MP for the ruling Likud party and also a previous representative for Israel at the United Nations, stated Israel will eliminate all perpetrators of the attack, and that “photojournalists who recorded the assault will be added to the list.”

In expressing concern, the IFJ has stated accusations are "extremely damaging to Palestinian journalists on the ground and puts their lives at risk." This position is echoed by the NUJ, and the union repeats its call for Israeli authorities to comply with international humanitarian law. 

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

“We condemn in the strongest terms the incendiary comments made by Israeli officials comparing Gaza-based photojournalists, who covered the early hours of the Hamas attack, to terrorists. Severe allegations as such put the lives of reporters in serious danger and make media professionals a target of attacks. The IFJ recalls that being present at the scene of events is part of the journalist's work and covering violence is not the same thing as condoning it.

“These comments are all the more disturbing given the terrible number of journalists in Gaza that have already been killed, and the widespread belief among media workers that they are being targeted by the IDF."

Benny Gantz, Defense Minister, also stated on X that if journalists had prior knowledge about the massacre, “they are no different from terrorists and should be treated as such.” Accusations made by Israeli Ministers violate UN Security Council resolutions condemning international attacks against journalists and media workers in situations of armed conflict.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) said:

“The events of October 7 lasted for a few hours, during which some of the settlements around the Gaza strip were accessible to everyone, and therefore it was normal for journalists to reach those areas and cover what happened. Any claim that journalists had prior knowledge of the events is a malicious claim aimed at inciting the targeting of Palestinian journalists and an attempt to justify the Israeli occupation’s crimes committed against them.”

Over 80 journalists' unions and associations have called on the Israeli government to ensure the safety and protection of journalists working in Gaza. 

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