Today, Thursday, 16 February 2022, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issued its report Palestinian journalists under the grip of the occupation, which is studying the cases of violations suffered by Palestinian journalists in 2022. This report focused on the following points:
The importance of media – International laws protecting journalists – Reasons for the occupation authorities’ violation of Palestinian journalists – The systematic occupation policy of violating Palestinian press freedom – Statistics on the violations suffered by the Palestinian journalist in 2022 – Cases of violations suffered by the Palestinian journalist in 2022 – Recommendations – Conclusion.
The report noted that the Palestinian journalist played a hero’s role in defending his national cause and the rights of all his people by carrying out his professional and national role in exposing the crimes of the Israeli occupation, as well as his significant contributions to raising international awareness of the Palestinian cause. He worked to get these violations out of the constrained spatial space represented by the Palestinian territories in which they are committed to the outside world and international institutions.
The report noted that the history of Israeli violations against journalists working in the occupied Palestinian territories in previous years, especially in 2022, included beatings, arrests, killings, shelling, and the destruction of media headquarters. Despite what may seem to be a dissonance between these violations, they reveal the particularity of Israeli policy and its systematic perspective for dealing with the media.
The report documented 59 instances of Israeli violations of press freedom by the Israeli occupation forces, including crimes of violating the right to life, journalists’ safety as journalists were killed, arrested, targeted and subjected to other forms of violence. The year 2022 witnessed a significant increase in crimes and violations by the occupation against Palestinian journalists, to the point of assassinating journalists and directly targeting them.
The report documented 30 cases of targeting, whether directly with live or rubber-coated bullets, dragging and beatings, causing harm and fractures throughout their bodies and humiliation, suffocation from inhaling poison gas or pepper gas and destroying their equipment.
Palestine ranked 170th according to the Press Freedom Index 2022, issued by Reporters Without Borders Organization , as a result of the increase in attacks and violations committed by the occupation against Palestinian journalists, as well as the spread of misinformation and false news, especially with the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupation forces.
The report concluded with the following recommendations:
- The need for the Israeli occupation authorities to respect international conventions on human rights and freedom of opinion and expression while dealing with Palestinian journalists because of their work.
- Activating efforts related to providing protection for the media and journalists and ensuring their security and freedom.
- Raising journalists’ awareness of their rights documented in international conventions and local laws to provide them with optimal legal protection, and knowledge on how to deal with cases of assault, summons and detention legally and correctly.
- Exerting real pressure on the occupation authorities to stop its violations against Palestinian journalists.
- The need for Palestinian media and human rights institutions to work in a unified manner with specific mechanisms in order to demand punishing occupation authorities for its violations against Palestinian journalists.
- Releasing all Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons.
- Opening an investigation into all murders of Palestinian journalists, bringing all those involved in these crimes to a fair trial and announcing the results of the investigations.
The Chairman of the FDHRD, Saeed Abdel Hafez, praised the insistence of ‘Palestinian journalists to document the daily violations and attacks against the residents of the occupied Palestinian territories’ despite the persistence of the occupation authorities in the policy of systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists and activists, in continuous attempts to discourage them from highlighting their violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.