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IFJ: One journalist is killed on average every day in the Israel-Hamas war

2023-12-05 07:17:03, Kosova & Bota CNA

IFJ: One journalist is killed on average every day in the Israel-Hamas war

A journalist or media worker is killed on average every day in the Israel-Hamas war, the head of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said on Monday, making the conflict unparalleled in terms of media consequences.

About 60 members of the media have been killed since the fighting began on October 7, approaching the number of journalists killed during the entire two-decade Vietnam War half a century ago.
Other brutal wars in the Middle East have not even come close to the intensity of the current one.

"In a traditional war such as those in Syria, in Iraq, in the former Yugoslavia, we have not seen this kind of massacre," said the secretary general of the International Federation of Journalists, Anthony Bellanger in an interview with the Associated Press agency.

And since the week-long ceasefire in Gaza expired on Friday, the losses have continued, he said:

"Unfortunately, we got the bad news this weekend that after the ceasefire ended, three or four more (journalists) have been killed."

Mr Bellanger said around 60 journalists had lost their lives, including at least 51 Palestinians, as well as Israelis and Lebanese. Most have been killed during Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip.

He said that Israeli journalists were also killed during the Hamas attack in southern Israel that was the cause of the start of the war. He said these figures are based on all the sources the federation uses for its annual report. In addition to human casualties, the facilities of many media organizations were also destroyed in Gaza, he said.

He estimates that before the conflict there were about 1,000 journalists and media workers in Gaza and says that now no one can leave Gaza.

Yet even amid the destruction, local journalists continue to do their jobs, says Nasser Abu Baker, president of the Palestinian Journalists' Union.

"They have lost their families and continue to work," he said. "They are homeless and continue to work. ... No food, no security for them, no family. Even if their families are still alive, they are not with the families because the families live or sleep in hospitals."

Mr Bellanger said the Israeli authorities had not responded.

"I called the Israeli government, but they didn't answer me. And when I went to Palestine a few days ago, I asked the press office of the (Israeli) government to make a meeting. But nobody answers," he said.

Israel has said it makes every effort to avoid killing civilians and accuses Hamas of endangering them by operating in residential areas.

"We want to make sure that journalists are protected. Their work on the ground is critical," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told The Associated Press.

IFJ and Reporters Without Borders have called on International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors to investigate the deaths of journalists and media workers, and ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan has visited the area.

The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor has been investigating the actions of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities since 2014.

The investigation may also consider allegations of crimes committed during the current war. Mr. Khan has called on Israel to respect international law, but has not accused it of war crimes.

He called the October 7 attack by Hamas a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Israel argues that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the conflict because the Palestinian territories are not an independent sovereign state.

Israel is not a party to the treaty that upholds the ICC and is not one of its 123 member states.

Mr. Bellanger doesn't think the situation on the ground will change anytime soon, but says that as head of the global journalism network, "I can't afford to be pessimistic."/ VOA

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