Israel to review footage coming out of Gaza from US journalists in return for protection

Israel to review footage coming out of Gaza from US journalists in return for protection
US-based media outlets such as NBC and CNN have confirmed that Israeli forces must approve ‘all materials and footage’ coming out of Gaza before publication.
3 min read
08 November, 2023
Media outlets such as NBC News and CNN have permitted access to Israeli forces reviewing footage [Getty]

Israeli forces want to review "all materials and footage" taken by US media outlets' journalists in return for access to Gaza under Israeli protection.

CNN and NBC were among the broadcasters to allow Israel's military to restrict and supervise the movements of their journalists working in the Gaza Strip.

They are among the outlets reporting on the ground amid Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, following a media blackout and the killing of 34 Palestinian journalists in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Veteran journalist Fareed Zakaria reported that reporters embedded with the Israeli military have been subjected to specific "terms".

"As a condition to enter Gaza under IDF [Israeli military] escort, outlets have to submit all materials and footage to the Israeli military for review prior .to publication," the CNN host said. 

 "CNN has agreed to these terms in order to provide a limited window into Israel’s operations in Gaza."

NBC News had also confirmed that their correspondents reporting with an Israeli task unit were required to provide "raw footage" to the military before it was broadcast. 

Although the US broadcasters have widely covered the war in Gaza, Palestinians have claimed instances of "Western media bias" in reporting.

Some journalists have expressed their concerns about the Israeli military vetting footage media outlets use.

Investigative reporter Victoria Brownworth tweeted on X that such reporting is "PR not journalism" and that she had "never agreed to this in three decades of reporting". 

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Al Jazeera journalist Laila Al-Arian wrote: "Beware of any reporting out of Gaza in which news organizations are embedded with the IDF as CNN and ABC just did.

"They're not allowed to release or broadcast any of it without the IDF signing off on it which is not journalism. It's propaganda."

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) told The New Arab that such actions are "pretty standard for journalists" embedded with military units "to protect sensitive information".

But they also criticised Israel for making reporting from Gaza "nearly impossible" and said the huge deaths of journalists working in Gaza could be considered a "war crime".

"Even with these restrictions, embedded journalists can provide valuable information, provided they are up front with their audience about these caveats," said RSF's US Bureau executive director Clayton Weimers said.

"However, Israeli authorities have made it nearly impossible to otherwise report out of Gaza.

"The Israeli bombing campaign has totally disregarded international law by killing at least 41 journalists. Targeting journalists is a war crime, plain and simple."

Weimers also flagged the "restrictions" imposed on internet connections by the Israeli government that have led to internet and communications blackouts. Palestinians have said such blackouts have occurred during particularly brutal assaults on Gaza.

Israel's unprecedented bombardment of Gaza has killed over 10,500 people, most of them civilians and children.