UNESCO awards press prize to Palestinian journalists in Gaza

UNESCO awards press prize to Palestinian journalists in Gaza
UN agency's chief has awarded Gaza's journalists to honour Palestinian media workers who are facing 'difficult and dangerous' conditions in the territory.
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A journalist is seen on duty amid the Israeli attacks during 'World Press Freedom Day' in Deir Al Balah, Gaza on May 03, 2024. [Getty]

UNESCO on Thursday awarded its world press freedom prize to all Palestinian journalists covering the war in Gaza, where Israel has carried out its brutal offensive for more than six months.

"In these times of darkness and hopelessness, we wish to share a strong message of solidarity and recognition to those Palestinian journalists who are covering this crisis in such dramatic circumstances," said Mauricio Weibel, chair of the international jury of media professionals.

"As humanity, we have a huge debt to their courage and commitment to freedom of expression."

Audrey Azoulay, director general at the UN organisation for education, science and culture, said the prize paid "tribute to the courage of journalists facing difficult and dangerous circumstances".

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 97 members of the press have been killed since the war broke out in October, 92 of whom were Palestinians.

"Journalists in Gaza face particularly high risks as they try to cover the conflict during the Israeli ground assault, including devastating Israeli airstrikes, disrupted communications, supply shortages, and extensive power outages," the CPJ said in a statement. 

 Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to Israeli official figures.

Israel says that 129 captives seized by fighters during their attack remain in Gaza. The military claims 34 of them are dead.

Israel's offensive in Gaza has killed at least 34,596 people in the besieged enclave, who are mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.