Committee to Protect Journalists

Palestinian journalists attacked, threatened by leading factions

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by attacks and threats against the press in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by suspected members of the two major Palestinian parties, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Fatah movement. On Monday, nearly 50 armed militants stormed a studio of Fatah-affiliated Palestine Television in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. The attackers ordered staff to leave, and beat several cameramen and technicians. They fired at the equipment and in the direction of employees. 

Israeli authorities restrict Gaza press access

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about Israeli government restrictions on journalists attempting to report from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday that Israeli passport holders and dual nationals would be prohibited from entering Gaza. “Due to the current security assessments journalists with Israeli citizenship or those holding a dual citizenship cannot enter the Gaza Strip at the present time,” a statement said. 

Journalists, others kidnapped as prison siege sparks violence

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports that Palestinian gunmen abducted journalists and other foreigners in Gaza City today. A wave of violence erupted in Gaza and elsewhere in the West Bank, after Israeli forces laid siege to a Jericho prison to arrest militants believed responsible for the 2001 assassination of an Israeli minister. CPJ sources said as many as four South Korean and French journalists were abducted from Gaza’s Dira hotel. Armed kidnappers stormed the hotel this afternoon, according to news reports, which said one gunman was killed in a confrontation with Palestinian police. 

Gaza: Kidnapped French TV soundman freed

A soundman for French television was released unharmed today, eight days after unidentified gunmen seized him in the Gaza Strip. Mohammed Ouathi of France 3 television told reporters he was well but made no further comment when he appeared at a Gaza City police station, international news agencies reported. No group has claimed responsibility for Ouathi’s abduction, which triggered a protest last week by Palestinian and foreign journalists in Gaza. Reuters reported that a Palestinian militant umbrella group called the Popular Resistance Committees said it had helped mediate Ouathi’s release but it did not identify the kidnappers. 

Israeli army to take no action against officer in journalist's death

The Israel Defense Forces said today that it would not take disciplinary action against an officer thought responsible for the May 2003 shooting death of British freelance cameraman and film director James Miller in the Gaza Strip. The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the decision, which comes one month after the army declined to press criminal charges against the officer. “We are appalled that nearly two years after the death of James Miller, no one has been held accountable,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “The failure to assign any responsibility for this shocking and unnecessary death reflects an official disregard for the safety of journalists.” 

CNN producer kidnapped in Gaza City

The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the kidnapping this evening of a CNN producer in Gaza City by unknown gunmen. CNN reported that Riyadh Ali, a veteran producer for the station, was seized at gunpoint from a car in which he was a passenger with CNN colleagues, including correspondent Ben Wedeman. In an interview on CNN, Wedeman said a gunman emerged from a white Peugeot, came toward the CNN team, and demanded to know which of them was Ali. After the CNN producer was identified, he was taken from the car by the gunman, Wedeman said. Several other armed men were with him. 

CNN producer released in Gaza City

CNN producer Riad Ali was freed and in the custody of Palestinian police today, a day after being abducted by gunmen on a main street in Gaza City, CNN reported. CNN President Jim Walton said the station was “enormously relieved” that Ali had been released. “His ordeal serves to highlight the dangers faced by journalists around the world and we at CNN are grateful that this incident ended the way it did.” CNN said a tape surfaced shortly before Ali’s release in which the producer said he was being held by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that earlier denied involvement in the kidnapping, and had joined other groups in condemning it. 

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. 

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

Israel's High Court overturns government ban on press accreditation of Palestinian journalists

Israel’s High court overturned a sweeping government ban on press accreditation for Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The court ruled on Sunday, April 25, that Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) could not impose a blanket restriction on accreditation for Palestinian journalists, and that Palestinian journalists should receive press credentials provided they are given security clearance. The court ruled in response to separate law suits brought by Reuters news agency and the Qatar-based Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera regarding the accreditation of their reporters.