16 Jan SPJ Western Washington calls for protection, freedom of journalists working in Gaza
CONTACT: Madison Miller, SPJ Western Washington President, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEATTLE — The Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington Pro chapter condemns the violence against journalists who are reporting from inside the Gaza humanitarian crisis and the broader Israel-Hamas war.
Every one of those journalists represents a flashlight providing clarity to the rest of the world through the fog of war. Their safety and access to aid must be preserved, both because their lives are intrinsically valuable, and because they are essential to informing the world without the filter of government.
Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and onset of the Israel-Hamas war, at least 83 journalists and media workers have been killed while carrying out their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and that number is climbing. The majority are Palestinian journalists killed by Israeli air and drone strikes, according to the CPJ. The dead also include Israeli and Lebanese journalists.
As fellow journalists, we have a duty to speak on behalf of journalists who are killed or who face death, disease and destruction. The failure to protect journalists or to hold those who harm them accountable emboldens those across the world who seek to silence journalism.
Journalists, as civilians, are protected in military conflict under international law. But journalists in Gaza face communication blackouts, declining humanitarian conditions and constant airstrikes. On Oct. 27, the Israeli Defense Force told Reuters and Agence France Presse that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists in the Gaza Strip.
Reporters Without Borders has filed two complaints with the International Criminal Court, alleging possible war crimes. The first complaint regarded a number of Palestinian journalists “who were killed in bombardments of civilian areas in Gaza” and an Israeli journalist who was killed on Oct. 7 while covering a Hamas attack on his community. The latest complaint concerns seven killed Palestinian journalists, who the organization alleged “may have been deliberately targeted as journalists” by the Israel Defense Forces.
The killing of every journalist must be investigated. We condemn any efforts — either by Hamas or Israel — to arrest, restrict, imprison or censor journalists working in the area, or to prevent the news media from reporting to the public.
Every journalist killed is a lost opportunity to deliver truth, accountability and an accurate accounting of history to the world. Journalists covering the conflict in Gaza are performing vitally important work right now. We stand with them and call for their protection.