Shireen Abu Akleh: UN names Palestine media programme for journalist killed by Israel forces
The United Nations announced on Tuesday that it is naming the annual training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists after veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli forces on 11 May while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank.
In making the announcement, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said Palestinian-American reporter Abu Akleh "had a distinguished career in journalism for a quarter of a century" and "was a trailblazer for Arab women, and a role model for journalists in the Middle East and around the world".
The move follows an call by Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, to UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a letter on 11 May "to honor this brave and iconic woman journalist" by renaming the training programme after the killed reporter.
Guterres replied in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that he was "appalled" by Abu Akleh's death and has called for "an independent and transparent investigation into the incident to ensure that those responsible are held accountable".
He said the UN Department of Global Communications, which conducts the training programme, "welcomes the proposal to honor the bravery and legacy of Ms. Abu Akleh by renaming the training program for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists to 'The Shireen Abu Akleh Training Program for Palestinian Broadcasters and Journalists'."
The programme was set up in 1995, following the adoption of a General Assembly resolution requesting the UN public information department to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development.
Since then, about 200 Palestinian journalists have participated in the programme.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have accused Israeli soldiers of deliberately killing Abu Akleh.
Israel rejects those allegations as a "blatant lie", having previously claimed that a Palestinian gunman killed the reporter. Israel's military and officials later backtracked on the claim.
But video taken right before Abu Akleh was fatally shot shows there had been no fighting in the area at the time. It also depicted what the man recording said were Israeli snipers.
The PA denied Israel's request for the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, saying it did not trust Israel would conduct a fair investigation after it had spread "false narratives" over the journalist's killing.