Deadliest Place for Journalists – CPJ, Media Organizations Call for Protection of Palestinian Reporters

Muhammad Abu Sakhil of Gaza's al-Quds Radio has been shot and killed by Israeli forces near al-Shifa Hospital. (Photo: via social media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“CPJ is investigating all reports of journalists and media workers killed, injured, or missing in the war, which has led to the deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992”.

Muhammad Abu Sakhil, a Palestinian journalist with the Al-Quds Radio, was shot and killed on Thursday by Israeli occupation forces in the vicinity of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, Al-Jazeera reported. 

Abu Sakhil’s killing brought the total number of Palestinian journalists killed by Israel since October 7 to 137.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), “Journalists in Gaza face particularly high risks as they try to cover the conflict during the Israeli ground assault”.

“CPJ is investigating all reports of journalists and media workers killed, injured, or missing in the war, which has led to the deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992,” CPJ added in a report issued on Thursday.

Meaningful Action Required

The International Federation of Journalists and 38 more media freedom organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Tuesday on the Media Freedom Coalition member states to take “meaningful action” for the safety of journalists in Gaza.

According to the statement, the situation in Gaza “requires action from your member states to consistently and publicly call for the treatment of Palestinian journalists, who continue to report from Gaza in spite of the risks.”

The statement also called for “the immediate and unfettered access of international journalists to Gaza”.

The organizations criticized the “collective official silence of the (Media Freedom Coalition) member states” regarding the killings of journalists in Gaza, warning that it significantly undermines their capacity to advocate for media freedom on a global scale.

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“The collective official silence of the MFC member states as a group regarding these killings, with increasing evidence of journalists being specifically targeted (..) seriously diminishes our collective ability to credibly stand up for media freedom globally,” said the statement.

Calling them “our eyes and ears” on the ground, the statement added that journalists in Gaza are confronted with grave threats to their safety and require immediate assistance and solidarity.

“Finally, the growing evidence of targeted killings of journalists in this war requires a clear and joint call for prompt, independent, effective and thorough investigations into these killings,” said the statement.

Record Number of Journalists Detained

In a separate statement on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged the United Nations to launch an investigation into Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian journalists. 

“Israel is utilizing administrative detention to detain a record number of Palestinian journalists without charge,” CPJ wrote in an urgent appeal submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

In a press release, the committee added that the appeal urges the Working Group to examine the situations of journalists Moath Amarneh, Mohammad Badr, and Ameer Abu Iram, all of whom have been held in Israeli custody without formal charges since October 7.

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“The alarming use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities amid the Israel-Gaza war represents the silencing of dissenting voices, most notably journalists,” said CPJ Director of Advocacy and Communications Gypsy Guillen Kaiser.

“The incidence of administrative detention is a concerning bellwether for Israel’s efforts to restrict the public’s right to know what is happening in Gaza,” he added.

Bayan Abu Sultan is Alive

In recent days, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged the Israeli army to reveal the fate of Palestinian journalist Bayan Abu Sultan, who had been reportedly detained from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on March 19.

On that day, Abu Sultan had written on the social media platform X that Israeli forces “just murdered my brother in front of my eyes.”

RSF Raises the Alarm – Where is Palestinian Journalist Bayan Abu Sultan?

Following the statement, however, Palestinian journalist Ahmed El-Madhoun took on X to announce that Abu Sultan was not missing but under siege in her house near Al-Shifa. 

“She buried her brother in the backyard of the house. What needs to be done is to help evacuate them!” El-Madhoun added.

Abu Sultan confirmed on Friday that she is alive with a short statement on Twitter, reading: “I survived”.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,623 Palestinians have been killed, and 75,092 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(PC, Anadolu)

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