World Press Freedom and Palestine

May 6, 2009

SEE ALSO: JUSTICE IN THE NEWS: THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS REPORT ON TARGETING OF THE MEDIA DURING THE WAR ON GAZA in 2009.

The report describes how the media were subject to: ‘intimidation, direct military assault, and deliberately prevented from working freely during the 22 day military offensive launched by Israel’.

Following up from the Trade Union Solidarity Conference on Palestine I emailed the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists to get a policy and action update:  Jeremy Dear said:

“We have been active supporters for justice for the Palestinian people for many years. In particular we have always maintained a tight relationship with the Palestinian Syndicate of Journalists sometimes directly but mostly through the work of the International Federation of Journalists in the region. The most recent flurry of activity has been around the war on Gaza.

We participated in all the decisions taken by the IFJ regarding the situation of journalists during the invasion and have done more on this than any other union in the UK:

We participated in the protest over the media ban on the foreign media entering Gaza imposed by the Israeli military – I spoke at the national demonstration in December and again in January on these issues

  • We participated in the protest over the violations of journalists’ rights, the bombing of the stations, including Al Aqsa TV and the general mobilisation of IFJ affiliates to help alleviate the security situation of Palestinian journalists

 (i)         Jim Boumelha sent an urgent letter to the UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, asking him to investigate and take actions over the media crisis and the targeting of journalists;

 (ii)         IFJ affiliates were requested to join this action and send similar letters;

 (iii)                We joined the Gaza Defence Committee set up by the IFJ as a support group in defence of journalists in Gaza. This group was tasked to send humanitarian assistance and organise the investigation of all violations of international humanitarian law, especially the right to protection for journalists as enshrined in Security Council Resolution 1738 of 23 December 2006.

 (iv)                We circulated to members the appeal to the special safety fund established by the IFJ. 

We were part of the discussion that set out the terms of reference and tactics of the international delegation that visited Gaza on January 21-23rd. The report Justice in the News: A Response to Targeting of Media In Gazaand recommendations, which we endorsed, can be seen on the IFJ website. The NUJ did not participate in this solidarity mission but will be represented by Jim Boumelha in a forthcoming second mission.

 Since the mission, we have played a role in helping facilitate a safety training programme in Cairo of Palestinian journalists from Gaza and the West Bank.

 In the long-term we will be giving support, as it is our policy, to the next round of projects to help the syndicate develop its capacity.

 As the syndicate is going through a difficult period of divisions, we would be called upon to help facilitate its next congress. 

We have also been active in opposing the decision by the BBC to ban the DEC Appeal in respect of Gaza”.

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