The war has been going on for almost a month now. About 10,000 people have died. Among them are also journalists, who were often reporting on the war at the time they lost their lives.
First of all, the numbers. According to CPJ, at least 36 journalists have been killed through Saturday. 31 of them are Palestinian, four are from Israel and one from Lebanon. In addition, at least eight journalists were injured, three were missing and another eight arrested. And those are only the cases for which they know for sure. These figures already make it the deadliest war in the region for journalists since 1992.
Mohammed Abu Hatab was hit at home in Khan Younis last week by what the Palestinian authorities say was an Israeli airstrike. Abu Hatab and 11 of his relatives were killed, including his wife, son and brother.
Israel denies responsibility for the death of Abu Hatab and his family. After their deaths, the army said it was “not aware of any military activity by our forces in the vicinity of the location in question.”
Many colleagues attended the journalist’s funeral. Some of them had put on the dark blue vest with the word ‘PRESS’ on it, which is intended to protect journalists when covering conflicts and wars.
Salman Al-Bashir, a colleague of Abu Hatab, reported on his funeral. At the start of his report he was still wearing the dark blue PRESS vest, but gradually he took it off and took off his helmet, saying that the clothing apparently does not help protect journalists. He didn’t keep it dry. The fragment can be seen here:
Another deadly day was October 10. Three Palestinian journalists were killed when Israeli warplanes struck in Gaza City, precisely in a neighborhood where many media companies are located. The British The Independent, Al-Jazeera and the Palestinian news agency, among others, are located in that district.
Israel cannot guarantee security
On October 13, a journalist from the Reuters news agency was killed. According to researchers from the same news agency, ‘due to an attack that came from the direction of Israel’. Israel has sent a letter to Reuters and the French news agency AFP saying it cannot guarantee the safety of journalists. “Hamas is hiding in Gaza near civilians and journalists,” Israel says.
And journalists are also dying on the Israeli side. On October 7, the day the war started, most of them. Shai Regev, an editor for the Maariv newspaper, attended the festival in southern Israel where people were murdered and kidnapped. Journalist for broadcaster Kan, Ayelet Arnin, was also there. And Yaniv Zohar, photographer for Israel Hayom newspaper, was killed in a kibbutz.
The CPJ hopes that the safety of journalists can be guaranteed as soon as possible, precisely because independent reporting on the war is so important. “The CPJ emphasizes that journalists are citizens who do extremely important work during crises. They should never become victims of warring parties.”
Offices are no longer standing
“Journalists in the region are making great sacrifices to report on this conflict. Especially those in Gaza are paying a high price. Many have lost colleagues or family members or can no longer go to the office because it is no longer standing,” CPJ says.
“The work of journalists in Gaza is crucial,” says Ayman Mohyeldin. He works for the American news channel MSNBC and specializes in the Middle East. “Through them, the world can understand what the whole story is and who is affected by the conflict. They can also help verify information and images, as they are closer to it.”
The International Federation of Journalists has also spoken out. “The number of media workers killed is at an all-time high. We demand an explicit commitment from Israelis that their armed forces will do everything in their power to ensure that the number of journalists killed does not increase further.” The Dutch Association of Journalists has also joined this.
International Criminal Court in The Hague
Journalism organization Reporters Without Borders is completely outspoken. They are going to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes against journalists. “The scale, severity and repetitive nature of international crimes against the media, especially in Gaza, call for a priority investigation by the International Criminal Court.”