June 3, 2021
The Dismissal of the Head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue condemns the French News Agency for the unjust dismissal of the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Nasser Abu Bakr.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) fires its Palestinian Journalist in the West Bank, Nasser Abu Bakr, who worked more than 20 years in the Agency. The decision came a couple of days after Nasser compiled a file about Israeli crimes against journalists to be submitted to the International Criminal Court, after the destruction of 33 offices of media organizations and buildings that housed foreign media offices in Gaza.
The dismissal of Abu Bakr caused outrage among Palestinians and the Palestinians Syndicate as well. The Palestinian Syndicate considered the decision to be a result of the agency’s submission to the pressures of the occupied force in Palestine. The syndicate pointed out that the dismissal of Abu Bakr could be a result of his calls to prosecute leaders of the Israeli occupation and to bring the aggressors to the International Criminal Court for war crimes and violations of international law.
On the 31th of May, the Palestinian Syndicate has called the Ministry of Information to “withdraw the accreditation of the agency’s office in Ramallah”. Critical of the AFP decision, the Palestinian Journalists Union (SJP), a member of the international Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has denounced the dismissal of its Secretary General Nasser Abu Bakr by the AFP, on the 3rd of June.
The dismissal of a journalist without conveying the reasons behind the termination is constituted to be a violation of the freedom of media, the laws, and the regulations of the news agency.
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue calls on the International Federation of Journalists, regional and international unions to take effective measures to guarantee the dependence of the agency from the Israeli occupation and condemn the AFP for its arbitrary action against Nasser Abu Bakr. The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue requests the AFP to convey the reasons behind the dismissal and reverse its decision as it could damage the organizations reputation for objectivity and neutrality.
The Forum for development and Human Rights Dialogue fears that the recent decisions of multiple international news agencies to terminate and dismiss journalists promoting the Palestinian cause and exposing Israel’s war crimes could increase the level of journalists’ self-censorship, which could negatively impact the freedom of media.