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01 Nov. 2007 – 31 Aug. 2009

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference
and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers.”

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (1948)

 

  1. “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.” “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Article 19, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).

 “Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be

  1. considered as civilians …”
  2. “They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians…”

Article 79, Paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol I)

 

Introduction

 Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to attack journalists despite the protection extended to them under international law.  Journalists have been subjected to various kinds of attacks in an apparent attempts to prevent media coverage of human rights violations perpetrated by IOF against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).[1] 

 In light of the attacks carried out by IOF against journalists and media institutions working in the OPT, PCHR has issued a series of reports, “Silencing the Press,” which documents attacks by IOF and Israeli settlers against local and international journalists and media institutions in the OPT. 

 This report is the 12th in an ongoing series of “Silencing the Press” reports issued by PCHR.  It covers the period from 1 November 2007 through 31 August 2009, and includes the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead”, that took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.  During the offensive there
was a significant escalation of IOF attacks and violations against journalists and employees of local and international press agencies and media institutions. 

 This report is aimed at documenting the attacks by IOF and Israeli settlers against journalists and media institutions working in the OPT.  It includes detailed accounts of all IOF attacks on journalists and media institutions, as documented by PCHR. This documentation is supported by testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses and by field investigations.  PCHR’s investigations refute many IOF claims regarding certain crimes, including opening fire at journalists.  PCHR believes that these crimes were committed willfully using excessive lethal force, without taking into
consideration the principles of distinction and proportionality, and that these crimes were not justified by military necessity. 

 The reporting period witnessed 237 attacks by IOF against journalists and media institution, including: violations of journalists’ right to life and right to safety and security of person; beating journalists and subjecting them to other means of violence and humiliating and degrading treatment; arresting and holding journalists; denying journalist access to certain areas and preventing them from covering certain incidents; confiscation of media equipment and devices; bombarding or raiding media centers and misusing their contents; preventing journalists from traveling abroad; and
raiding journalists’ houses. 

 The report also documents IOF’s crimes against journalists and staff of media institutions during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, despite the protection granted to them by the international law.  During the offensive, IOF killed two Palestinian journalists while on duty, while another two Palestinian journalists were killed due to the excessive use of lethal force against civilians and due to indiscriminate bombardments.  In addition, nine journalists were wounded while on duty as a result of bombardments that targeted media offices or civilian establishments.  Two media crews were detained by IOF who fired at them.  Further, five media offices were bombarded by IOF. 

 Crimes of violation of the right to life and the right to safety and security of person are the most significant violations committed by IOF against journalists and staff of different media institutions.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented the killing of three Palestinian journalists at the hands of IOF while covering IOF’s crimes against Palestinian civilians in the OPT[2].  Since 28 September 2000, IOF have killed eleven journalists while on duty in
the OPT. 

 The full report is available PDF format.