Jerusalem24– The Journalist Support Committee (JSC), a non-profit organization that works to promote and protect media freedom, freedom of expression, and journalists’ rights, reports a recent escalation in attacks on Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces and settlers.
The organization recorded 162 violations against journalists during the month of May alone.
JSC mentioned in its report that a number of the violations against press crews occurred during the funeral procession of Aljazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by an Israeli sniper on 11 May, as well as during their coverage of the settler’s and occupation forces’ incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the flags march in the city of Jerusalem.
Of the 162 violations to media freedoms recorded, 148 were committed by the Israeli occupation, 11 by social networking sites, and three by Palestinian authorities. JSC claims this is “in order to obliterate the truth and prevent [journalists] from carrying out their professional moral duty, which is guaranteed by international laws.”
The report pointed out that both the occupation forces and settlers drew their weapons in the face of journalists, in addition to physical and psychological abuse such as beatings, shoving, throwing water bottles and spraying pepper spray, destroying vehicles and cameras, stealing mobile phones, preventing live broadcasts, and issuing death threats. Journalists were also targeted with rubber-coated bullets, and arrested and detained.
The most prominent Israeli violation in May was the killing of veteran AlJazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Abu Akleh was deliberately targeted with an explosive bullet to the head while covering the occupation’s incursion into Jenin refugee camp.
The report recorded more than 54 injuries to journalists and media workers working for international, Arab, and local institutions, both by Israely authorities and military and by settlers.
The report documented 11 cases of arrest and detention, including journalists, Dujana Abu Al-Rub, Ahmed Al-Safadi, and Nasser Shtayyeh. All three have been released.
There were five cases of extensions of administrative detention, including journalist Ayman Qawariq and Dujana Abu Al-Rub.
Other types of violations saw the occupation forces, in partnership with settlers, obstructing more than 61 journalists and media organizations in the performance of their tasks and coverage of violations, most notably in Jerusalem, Hebron and Jenin, by prevented them from working and destroying their cameras and vehicles. Settlers and soldiers also stole some journalists’ cellphones and attempted to prevent the journalists’ live broadcasts. A total of six vehicles and equipment were damaged, two cameras were destroyed, and three phones were stolen.
Writer and researcher Abdel Salam Awad was also fined during the course of his work.
Social media also imposed unjust restrictions on Palestinian content “under pressure from the Israeli occupation”. JSC recorded at least 11 cases of violations where a journalist’s account was deleted or they were prevented from publishing under the pretext of violating the standards and conditions of service. This included the “Tik Tok” account of Al Qastal News Network a network specialized in covering Jerusalem events.
Palestinian authorities violations
The report recorded three violations by various Palestinian authorities, including two judicial cases in Gaza against journalist Ehab Fasfus, and one case of incitement and threats by an official in power against journalist Alaa Al-Rimawi in the West Bank.