Media Freedom Coalition statement on the safety of journalists and media workers in conflict

 

The statement is also available in Arabic.

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition express their concern over the repercussions for the safety of journalists and access to information caused by the very serious escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at moment of publication, 63 journalists and media workers are confirmed dead, making it the deadliest period for journalists covering conflict since the Committee to Protect Journalists began documenting fatalities in 1992.

Access to reliable, independent and diverse information sources and access to the internet are essential in times of conflict. Journalists and media workers on the ground play a critical role in keeping the world informed about the realities and impacts of conflict. They are often the first witnesses of what took place and play an important role in gathering and disseminating reliable information. They carry out a crucial mission of public interest. This however, must not come at a price. Journalists in situations of armed conflict and adjacent areas often face extreme danger and put their lives at risk.

The Media Freedom Coalition urgently draws attention to the rules and responsibilities related to the protection of journalists and media workers in conflict, in compliance and consistent with international humanitarian law which includes prohibitions against directly targeting civilians and taking all feasible precautions to protect civilians.

Journalists are afforded protection under international humanitarian law because they are civilians. Deliberate attacks against journalists are forbidden. All parties to a conflict must treat detained journalists in accordance with international humanitarian law. Furthermore, media equipment, and installations dedicated to civilian purposes are civilian objects and must not be the target of attacks or reprisals, unless they qualify as military objectives.

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with international law and guarantee the protection of journalists and media workers covering the conflict between Israel and Hamas. We call for all attacks against journalists and media workers to be investigated and prosecuted in compliance with national and international law.

Signed: 

Australia
Austria
Canada
Chile
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Greece
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
the Netherlands
the United Kingdom

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