Skyline International Urges Swift Action Against Targeted Attacks on Gaza Journalists Amid Israeli Offensive
Skyline strongly condemns the ongoing targeting of journalists since Israel's offensive against Gaza began on October 7. During the conflict, Israel's targeted attacks on journalists were regarded as an attempt to mislead the people and spread misinformation. These attacks on journalists not only violate press freedom, but they also pose a severe threat to global journalism.
In a statement issued today, Thursday, Skyline warns of the serious consequences for journalist safety in the middle of the events in Gaza, and calls on all actors to respect and enforce international law as soon as possible. Since the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, according to reports, eleven journalists have died while carrying out their duties.
Skyline says that attacks on journalists and media infrastructure are a clear violation of press freedom. Journalists play an important role in conflict zones, capturing events and keeping information flowing. Unjustified targeting of journalists endangers their life while also undermining the public's right to know.
"Skyline" notes that journalists in Gaza face particularly high risks when trying to cover the battle in the face of an Israeli ground invasion, deadly Israeli airstrikes, hampered communications, and widespread energy shortages. Since the Israeli war on Gaza began on October 7, 11 journalists have been murdered, more than 20 have been injured, and 2 are missing, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. This is according to a report released on Sunday by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate's Freedom Committee.
According to the report, 11 people were killed, more than 20 were injured, and two people went missing in Gaza, 50 media institutions were destroyed, and journalists' homes were bombed over the heads of their residents, in addition to dozens of violations in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
In this context, “more than 20 casualties were observed, the most violent in the Gaza Strip, and after it became known that about 20 houses of journalists were bombed completely and some partially, the Israeli occupation army took a new escalation by bombing the houses of a number of journalists on the heads of their residents, causing injury.” And to the martyrdom of their family members.”
The report also documents the violation of numerous Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, the beatings, arrests, prevention of reporting, shootings, and confiscation and destruction of press equipment.
In addition, the “jamming and hacking of broadcasts” from media institutions was noted, and “Al-Aqsa Channel broadcasts via the Eutelsat satellite were halted in response to pressure from the occupation.”
According to the report, "many journalists were exposed to direct threats and incitement campaigns by Hebrew pages on social media platforms," as well as "several Hebrew publications were monitored calling for the liquidation of journalists and describing them as saboteurs and terrorists"
Skyline belevies that the impact of these attacks goes beyond the individuals involved; it is a significant interference with the freedom of the press. Israel's goal is to control reporting and ensure that only the images, videos, and narratives it promotes reach the world's public.
Skyline international states that the illegality of attacks on journalists and the media stems from the protection afforded to civilians and civilian objects under international humanitarian law. If a party to an armed conflict orders an attack against protected persons, or willfully kills or murders such protected persons, it is deemed a breach of international humanitarian law.
In this context, Skyline indicates that international humanitarian laws and standards, particularly Security Council Resolution No. 2222, require journalists, media professionals, and others linked with them to be protected as civilians when covering combat situations. The resolution further states that media equipment, offices, and studios are civilian assets, not military assets or property, and should not be targeted in attacks or reprisals.
Also, ARTICLE 19 emphasises the importance of maintaining respect for international humanitarian law regarding the safety of journalists working in areas of armed conflict, which stipulates that journalists are civilians and are entitled to protection as such in all situations of armed conflict. The United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists also emphasises that the equipment and premises of media organisations should be treated as civilian objects and should not subjected to attack or reprisal unless there is clear evidence that they are being used for military operations.
Finally, Skyline International Foundation urges the international community and human rights organizations to take action toward the targeted attacks on journalists by the Israeli occupation forces. It also calls for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attacks on journalists, with a focus on identifying the perpetrators and holding them accountable for their actions. Impunity for such attacks should not be tolerated. Moreover, it calls for the immediate implementation of measures to ensure the safety and protection of journalists working in conflict zones. This may include the deployment of international observers or the establishment of safe zones for journalists to operate in.