Journalists in Danger

IPI criticises British journalist's treatment

On 1 September, British freelance journalist Ewa Jasiewicz decided to return to the United Kingdom after discontinuing a legal action before the Israeli Supreme Court. Jasiewicz made the decision because, if the court had found against her, it would have created a binding legal precedent for other foreign journalists entering Israel. During the initial stages of the hearing, the court appeared in favour of allowing Jasiewicz to enter Israel but wanted to ban her from the occupied territories. The court then decided to hear evidence from the security forces ex parte, excluding both Jasiewicz and her legal team from the hearing and preventing them from understanding the true nature of the charges made against her. 

Israeli authorities detain British journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today challenged the Israeli authorities to “live up to the expectations of a democracy” and allow a journalist they have banned from entering the country to have access and to report freely. “It is intolerable that the country which claims to be the only democracy in the region is afraid to allow a writer access to the country,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, over the ban on journalist Ewa Jasiewicz, a member of the IFJ British affiliate the National Union of Journalists. Ewa Jasiewicz landed at Tel Aviv airport last Wednesday and was detained by the authorities, who claim she is a political activist. 

Media watch dog calls for thorough investigation into beating of Israeli filmmaker

In a 28 July 2004 letter to Israeli Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, RSF called for a “thorough and open” investigation into a brutal assault on Israeli filmmaker David Benchetrit, who was left barely able to walk after being attacked in front of the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on 21 April. “We would like to see the police investigation pursued with the utmost vigour so that the perpetrators of this shocking violence are arrested and punished in keeping with the seriousness of the attack,” RSF said in its letter. The filmmaker was attacked as he entered the Defence Ministry for an appointment with ministry spokesperson Ruth Yaron, in connection with a film he is making about Israel’s conscientious objectors. 

Journalists threatened over coverage of political infighting

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by new threats against Palestinian journalists covering political unrest in the Gaza Strip, the most recent in a months-long series of actions by Palestinian militants and forces intended to stifle independent reporting there. Journalists working for Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya told CPJ they received telephone threats this week from men identifying themselves as PA security personnel or dissident members of President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization. The threats centered on the stations’ coverage of fighting in the Gaza Strip that followed Arafat’s July 17 appointment of his cousin, Musa Arafat, as head of security for the Palestinian territories. 

Palestine Journalists Syndicate bans reports on PA crisis

RSF has urged the Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS) to drop its ban on journalists reporting on disputes between Palestinians. On 20 July 2004, the union announced that journalists would face “penalties” if they “dealt with or carried statements or publications dealing with internal events and inclined to slander, libel or harm others.” Demonstrations and clashes have taken place in recent days following the 17 July appointment of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s cousin Musa Arafat as the Palestinian Authority’s top security chief. The appointment has since been revoked. 

Israeli journalist Amira Hass receives Anna Lindh Award

“Journalism’s main task is to monitor power, to locate domination and to follow its characteristics and effects on the people, to observe the relations developing between power and the subjugated. Monitoring Power is a voluntarily-adopted mission of journalism, I believe, in a centuries-old development of the media and its social contract with the society in which journalists operate.” Israeli journalist Amira Hass, author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza, has reported regularly from Gaza and Ramallah, where she lived among local people. Amira has recieved the fist Anna Lind Award, in honour of the murdered Swedish foreign minister. 

CPJ concerned about Gaza missile attack

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is gravely concerned by the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) missile attack in the Gaza Strip on a building that houses several media outlets. According to journalists in Gaza, an Israeli helicopter gunship fired three missiles at the Al-Shawwa Wil Hossary building on Al-Wihda Street just after midnight on June 29. The building contains the offices of several local and international media organizations, including those of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera, and German television ARD

PCHR Condemns Israeli Aerial Attack on a Press Office in Gaza

PCHR strongly condemns an Israeli aerial attack on a press office in the center of Gaza City on Tuesday morning. This latest attack comes in the context of a series of systematic attacks launched by Israeli occupying forces against journalists and media institutions in an attempt to silence the press and prevent it from reporting on violations of human rights perpetrated by these forces against Palestinian civilians and their properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) 

RSF condemns violent attacks on Palestinian journalists

In a 21 June 2004 letter to Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, RSF protested a string of violent attacks by the Israeli Army against Palestinian journalists in the Nablus region of the West Bank between 10 and 15 June. “The methods the Israeli Army uses to hamper the international media from covering its clashes with Palestinians over the construction of its security fence are unacceptable. It is evident that during its operations, the Israeli Army systematically obstructs the work of Palestinian journalists”, RSF said. 

Federation of Journalists urges Israel to respect rights of journalists

Delegates at the International Federation of Journalists Congress meeting in Athens today welcomed the decision by Israel to release from custody Peter Hounam who broke the story of Israel’s nuclear weapons capacity in an interview with Mordechai Vanunu 20 years ago. “His detention under rules which prohibit journalists from speaking to Mordechai Vanunu was unacceptable,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. The IFJ had earlier said that the detention of Hounam, a close associate of Vanunu, was evidence of “continuing hostility” within the Israeli security and political establishment against journalists trying to report on the Vanunu story.