Palestinian journalists 'increasingly targeted' in 2023, says union

Palestinian journalists 'increasingly targeted' in 2023, says union
3 min read
West Bank
19 July, 2023
Violations of journalists' freedom in Palestine have increased in 2023, according to the Palestinian Journalists Union, mainly by Israeli forces but also by the Palestinian Authority.
Israel currently holds 18 Palestinian journalists in its jails, six without charges [Qassam Muaddi /TNA]

Israel's crackdown on Palestinian journalists has significantly increased in 2023, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate told The New Arab on Tuesday.

Omar Nazzal, a member of the administration board of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, said, "The occupation's targeting of Palestinian journalists since the beginning of the year has become more obvious and deliberate".

"Violations have included arrests, confiscation of material, physical aggressions and direct targeting during field coverage", explained Nazzal. "The latest violation against journalists in the field was the targeting of Al-Araby TV while covering the occupation's attack on Jenin earlier this month".

On 3 July, Israeli forces opened fire at the Al-Araby TV team in Jenin, causing damage to the team's transmission equipment.

Earlier in June, Israeli forces wounded Palestinian reporter Momen Sumrein with a live bullet that scratched his head during his coverage of an Israeli raid into Ramallah's old town.

Last week, an Israeli court in Jerusalem ended the 10-month-house arrest of Palestinian journalist Lama Ghosheh, sentencing her to nine months of 'community service' and a 4500 shekels fine on charges of 'incitement' because of her posts on social media.

"Palestinians, in general, can be accused of 'incitement' because they expressed on social media, and this censorship by the occupation particularly targets journalists", noted Nazzal.

"Journalists are arrested on a variety of accusations, and as of now, 18 Palestinian journalists are held in the occupation prisons, six of whom are detained without charges under the 'Administrative Detention' system", he remarked.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority conducted several arrests of Palestinian journalists, the latest of which was the arrest of the local 24FM radio station's reporter and anchor, Aqeel Awawdeh. A Palestinian court released Awawdeh on Sunday after three days of arrest.

"Often, when Palestinian security forces arrest a Palestinian journalist, they say that they were not arrested because of their journalistic work, but for other legal reasons", said Nazzal. "In the case of Awawdeh, it was evident that his arrest came after a video he released in which he criticized some PA policies, which is why the syndicate immediately took a position and demanded his release", he added.

Last year, Israeli forces killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh while on duty in Jenin; Israeli forces killed journalist Ghufran Warasnea a week later h on her first day of work at a local radio station in Hebron.