Israeli violations of press freedom

B'Tselem demands Military Police investigation of firing at journalists in Gaza


On Sunday [27 August], the Israeli air force fired at a Reuter press vehicle near the Shaja’iyah neighborhood in Gaza. Two journalists in the vehicle were injured, one of them severely. An IDF spokesperson stated that the vehicle was attacked during an IDF operation because the vehicle “was driving suspiciously near IDF forces operating in the area.” The spokesperson contended that the soldiers did not identify the vehicle as one that belonged to the press agency, and regretted that the journalists were injured. According to Reuters, and from photos that appeared in the media, the vehicle was clearly marked as a press vehicle on all sides and on its roof. 

In Gaza, Israeli missile strikes Reuters vehicle and wounds two


The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the apparent targeting of two Palestinian cameramen by Israeli forces in Gaza City late Saturday. A missile struck their armored car in the densely populated Shijaiyah neighborhood, seriously wounding Fadel Shana, a freelance cameraman for Reuters, and Sabbah Hmaida, a cameraman with a private Palestinian TV facilities house, Media Group. Reuters said the vehicle was clearly marked “Press” on all sides. The missile struck the letter “P” of the bright red “Press” sign on the car’s roof, the news agency added. Shana lost consciousness for several hours and suffered shrapnel wounds in his right hand and leg, Reuters reported. Hmaida sustained serious leg wounds from shrapnel. 

Abducted Fox News journalists freed, Israeli air strike on Reuters vehicle in Gaza


Reporters Without Borders voiced relief at the release today of Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig in Gaza City after nearly two weeks in captivity but condemned an Israeli missile attack on a clearly-identified Reuters press vehicle in Gaza that seriously injured a local news website journalist. “The release of the two US network journalists is very good news but the Palestinian authorities must still take concrete measures to protect media workers,” the press freedom organisation said. “As for the journalists targeted today by Israeli aircraft, we call on the Israeli military to carry out a thorough investigation to find out who was responsible.” 

Militant group says it holds two Fox News journalists


A group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades today released a video of two Fox News Channel journalists it said it kidnapped in the Gaza Strip last week. In a statement with the video, the previously unknown group demanded the release of Muslim prisoners held by the United States within 72 hours in exchange for the journalists, an American and a New Zealander. The group did not say what would happen if its demands were not met. Correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, appeared in good health in the video, which was obtained by the Gaza-based news service Ramattan. They were kidnapped August 14 in the center of Gaza City. 

PNA Required to Act Against the Kidnapping of Internationals and Attacking of International Organizations


PCHR strongly condemns the kidnapping of two international journalists, an American and a New Zealander, in Gaza City yesterday evening. The Centre views this act as a flagrant attack on freedom of expression, and a continuation of the security chaos plaguing the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Centre reiterates its call to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), represented by the Attorney-General, to seriously investigate this crime and other kidnapping crimes, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

Call for release of two Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza


Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about the kidnapping of two journalists working for the US TV network, Fox News, reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, who were abducted by gunmen in the centre of Gaza City last night. “We appeal to the kidnappers to release these two journalists,” the press freedom organisation said. “They were just doing their job and can in no way be held responsible for US policy in the region or the Israeli army’s operations in the Palestinian Territories or in Lebanon. We also call on the Palestinian authorities to do everything to find Centanni and Wiig and to ensure they return safe and sound to their families.” 

Shot Ma'an photographer Mohammad Az Zanoun leaves hospital after three weeks of treatment


Ma’an news agency photographer Mohammad Az Zanoun was discharged on Sunday from the the Soroka Israeli hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for the last three weeks. Mohammad was injured by Israeli shrapnel and shot in the stomach while covering the Israeli aggression and incursion of the Ash Sheja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza three weeks ago. He was first taken to the Ash Shifa’a hospital in Gaza and then to the Israeli hospital at Ma’an’s expense. He was met at Erez crossing into Gaza by a number of his colleagues from Ma’an, friends and family. 

Cameraman seriously injured in targeted attack by Israeli army on journalists in Gaza


Condemning the Israeli army’s latest targeted attack on journalists in the Gaza Strip, in which Ibrahim Atla, a cameraman with the Palestinian public TV broadcaster, was seriously injured this morning by shots fired by a tank in eastern Gaza, Reporters Without Borders today urged the Israeli authorities to calm their troops down. “We appeal to the Israeli authorities to put an end to targeted attacks on civilians and we call for immediate measures to ensure the safety of journalists covering the fighting,” the organisation said. “Journalists and other media workers have repeatedly been the victims of deliberate violence by the Israeli forces, especially in recent weeks.” 

Reporters Without Borders in Beirut to express solidarity with Lebanese media


Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Menard has gone to Beirut, where he has met with executives and editors of news media that have been the victim of Israeli air strikes including the LBC, New TV and Al Manar television stations. He also met with representatives of the National Council of media. Since the start of the fighting, the Israeli military has destroyed the transmitters of several TV stations, killing an LBC technician, reduced the premises of Al Manar, the Hezbollah TV station, to ruins, inflicted injuries on a three-member New TV crew and killed a young woman photographer, Layal Nagib, near Tyre. 

Lebanese journalist killed, TV transmitters hit


The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the killing of a freelance photographer and a media technician during separate Israeli missile attacks in Lebanon. Layal Najib, 23, a freelance photographer for the Lebanese magazine Al-Jaras and Agence France-Presse, became the first journalist to be killed since Israel began attacks on Lebanon in response to a cross-border raid by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Najib was in a taxi yesterday trying to meet up with a convoy of villagers fleeing the Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon when she was hit by shrapnel from a missile on the road between the villages of Sadiqeen and Qana, local media reported. 

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