End impunity for crimes against journalists

End impunity for crimes against journalists

Tomorrow is the UN International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Attacks on journalists represent an attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know.

Journalists are often deliberately targeted, despite clearly wearing jackets declaring that they are Press, and therefore working, often in difficult and dangerous environments.

The Investigative Committee of the UN Human Rights Council, in February of this year declared that Israel has violated International Law, in its attacks on journalists, with 18 being killed in the course of their work in the Occupied Territories, since 2000.

In 2018 alone, 254 journalists were injured, many of them while reporting on the protests at the Gaza fence, and this despite clearly wearing Press jackets.

These jackets should ensure the safety of journalists at work, but in Gaza, as the New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists has pointed out, they may attract fire, undermining the right of the public to learn what really happened on a particular day.

On April 6, 2018, 30-year-old cameraman Yasser Murtaja had breakfast with his wife and 15-month-old child.

Despite being an award winning documentary maker, who sometimes worked with the BBC, Yasser, like most Gazans, had never been able to travel outside Gaza.

On that day, he put on his vest with the word PRESS written in capital letters against a white background, to make it clearly visible. He took his steadicam recorder, and began work 200 metres from the perimeter fence.

He was shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sharpshooter, and died in hospital 12 hours later.

Six of his journalistic colleagues were also shot and injured on that day. Despite the IDF (Israeli Army) promising an investigation, no report on the killing has since been made by them.

On September 7 last year, the Irish National Union of Journalists, joined voices with the International Federation of Journalists, to condemn an attack by the Israeli army on journalists who were protesting near Ramallah, concerning attacks on reporters and camera people.

Seven of the protestors were shot and injured, in the legs. This was a deliberately targeting of the Press, and an attempt to silence critical coverage of events in the Palestinian territory.

On this day, it seems right to protest the impunity with which Israel has attacked civilians, including children, along with the courageous journalists who continue to cover these events, despite the danger to their own lives and health.

- Betty Purcell

Author and broadcaster

Dublin 6W

More on this topic

Five activists stopped from attending Dublin human rights conferenceFive activists stopped from attending Dublin human rights conference

Activist visits Ireland to highlight abuse at Colombian coal mine and Irish links to itActivist visits Ireland to highlight abuse at Colombian coal mine and Irish links to it

Brunei Darussalam to pass law that will punish homosexuality with deathBrunei Darussalam to pass law that will punish homosexuality with death

Indonesian police used snake to terrorise suspectIndonesian police used snake to terrorise suspect

More in this Section

Mick Clifford Podcast: London Irish voices - Ray O'Rourke and Rory GodsonMick Clifford Podcast: London Irish voices - Ray O'Rourke and Rory Godson

Cyberspace is for everyone and so it must be safe to useCyberspace is for everyone and so it must be safe to use

Dr Ciarán Ó Riain: Cancer screening is not perfect, but we need itDr Ciarán Ó Riain: Cancer screening is not perfect, but we need it

Slawomir Sierakowski: France’s Emmanuel Macron risks political future if he becomes too ambitiousSlawomir Sierakowski: France’s Emmanuel Macron risks political future if he becomes too ambitious


Lifestyle

Architect and artist Harry Wallace tells Eve Kelliher how his style has evolved.How a lifetime as an architect has inspired Cork artist Harry Wallace

Don’t let present stress ruin your run-up to Christmas. Pat Fitzpatrick has done all the hard work with this tongue-in-cheek gift guide for every budget, so you can tick everyone off your list and get down to enjoying yourself for the festive season.Gift stressbuster: We sort out who gets what and why

It’s not what you have that makes you happy, it’s what you do. And what better time to be proactive than during the season of goodwill, says Margaret Jennings.Joy to the world: Strategies to increase your happiness during the season of goodwill

For a magical mantelpiece makeover the natural way, foliage and garlands add showstopping sparkle to the scene, says Hannah Stephenson.Bring Christmas cheer indoors: Foliage and garlands add showstopping sparkle

More From The Irish Examiner