Palestinian Journalists Syndicate congress

  • 24 May 2023

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, addressed the congress in Ramallah, Palestine. 

She said:

“Our relationship with the PJS is a particularly special one. The bond of friendship between our unions is long-standing and enduring. In recent years, we have done all we can to support your work to highlight the targeted attacks against journalists in Palestine, and to focus the world’s attention on bringing the perpetrators of those abuses to justice, to end impunity and the repeated undermining of media freedom.

“That’s why we are proud to help in the case your union is bringing to the International Criminal Court and to work as part of the IFJ to help build pressure for justice.

“Like millions of others around the world, I have watched in horror as evidence mounted up of the way that the Israeli Defence Force targets Palestinian journalists and media headquarters. Pictures of the shelling of the al-Jalaa building were transmitted all over the world. The murder of Shereen Abu Aklah made headlines around the globe. But Shereen’s horrific murder was tragically representative of a much greater problem, one that all too often goes unreported.”

She said the safety of journalists was rising up the political agenda everywhere – whether online trolling, harassment in the street or the kind of legal bullying for which London’s courts are among the most renowned.

Unity among journalists was so important, she said, to stand up against the corrupt politicians, criminal gangs and corporations which want to silence them.

“As journalists, together, we are the guardians of our profession, we are the guardians of the truth, we are the guardians of democracy. These weighty responsibilities demand unity among ourselves and among our unions. That is the goal to which we must build,” she said.

Dominique Pradalié, IFJ President, also paid tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh, a year after her killing, saying: “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. 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.

“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.”

Photographs © Frederic de Bellaing

Return to listing