Monday, July 13, 2020

600 Israeli violations recorded against Palestinian journalists in one year

By K. Künzl - November 12, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [press freedom]

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) released a report on 8 November announcing that Israeli occupational forces committed 600 violations against Palestinian journalists from October 2018 to October 2019.

The report detailed the violations to include 60 journalists who suffered serious gunshot wounds and 43 journalists hit by sound grenades directly thrown at them by Israeli forces.

Additionally, "More than 170 journalists were beaten, detained or banned from coverage," the report stated.

Ten journalists have also been detained by Israeli forces during this time, raising the total of journalists currently in prison to 18.

The report comes out amid Facebook’s crackdown on Palestinian media pages that document human rights abuses, highlighting the “180 cases of violations against Palestinian content on Facebook, including the removal of Palestinian accounts or posts,” The New Arab reported

Talks amongst the social media giant first came in September 2016 when representatives met to discuss with the Israeli government over whether Palestinian media accounts should be shut down on the basis of “incitement”. 

The crackdown came as a step in a series of attempts by the Israeli government to censor outspoken critics online.

Within weeks after meetings, Facebook shut down the accounts of seven Palestinian journalists from two Palestinian news agencies, claiming they had 'extremist ties’. The journalists said they had been suppressed for revealing the truth and criticising the Israeli occupation.

A report compiled by the Palestinian News and Information Agency released in October revealed eight violations against journalists in the month of September alone.

The report cited, “six journalists were injured from rubber bullets, tear gas inhalation or beating by Israeli soldiers while covering events in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

In addition to the arrest of Wedad Barghouthi, a lecturer of media at Birzeit University, Israeli authorities also banned journalist Majdoulin Hassouna at Allenby Crossing when she attempted to return to Turkey after visiting family in the West Bank.

Journalists in Gaza find work especially risky.  With complete disregard for the press vests journalists often wear, many are targeted while reporting on the Great March of Return protests that are subject to heavy bombardment by Israeli forces.

The headquarters of Al-Quds TV was destroyed in Gaza when Israel targeted and bombed the media centre in 2012, injuring seven staff members.

“Targeting media outlets is part of the political conflict. The Israeli occupation and the US administration are fighting our media because they support the historical rights of Palestinians. Politics has led to decreasing funds for these media outlets,” Emad al-Efranji, the station manager at Al-Quds TV stated.

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