Report a violation

Home بيانات Latest News   Print

MADA welcomes the United Nations Special Rapporteurs’ address to the Government of Israel regarding the targeting of journalists in the Palestinian territories after October 7

Ramallah – 15th March 2024. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its great welcome to some United Nations rapporteurs addressing the Israeli authorities to obtain clarifications about their targeting of journalists and Palestinian media institutions with murder, especially the multiple violations that have occurred against media freedoms following the 7th of October.

Through the letter - a copy of which was sent to the Palestinian National Authority - the rapporteurs addressed the Israeli government in their official capacity and pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolutions 52/9, 51/8, and 52/4, and Human Rights Commission Resolution 1993/2 A, drawing their attention to the complaint they received regarding the targeting of journalists and employees of media organizations covering events in the occupied Palestinian territories and within the Israeli/Lebanese borders following the attacks of the 7th of October, which includes killing journalists and media workers, destroying media institutions through targeted or indiscriminate bombing, targeting media outlets, harassing, arresting, and detaining Palestinian journalists and media workers.

The Special Rapporteurs expressed their deep concern about the systematic and deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians and the killings and harassment of journalists by the Israeli authorities while wearing press uniforms, as they have the right to protection as civilians under the International Humanitarian Law, stressing the need for the Israeli authorities to commit to protecting journalists in cases of conflict and tension by the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. They further urged to support journalists as civilians in accordance with international standards and obligations under the Geneva Conventions, calling for a comprehensive, independent, and rapid investigation into the allegations submitted by institutions, most notably MADA, and to take the strongest measures to ensure that civilians and journalists are not targeted and to protect them from any harm resulting from military operations.

In this regard, the Special Rapporteurs’ letter called on the Israeli authorities to provide a number of clarifications:

  1. Provide any additional information or comments regarding the targeting of journalists and other violations.
  2. Provide information on the factual and legal reasons for the arrest and detention of the journalists mentioned in MADA’s previous complaint and the extent to which these measures are compatible with international rules and standards.
  3. Provide information about the measures taken by the Israeli government to protect Palestinian journalists and media professionals, guarantee their right to life and security throughout the occupied territories, and conduct investigations into all killings and attacks to which they were subjected.
  4. Clarify how Israeli security agencies, including the IDF, are trained to ensure the safety of journalists, including respect for their status as civilians under the International Humanitarian Law.
  5. Clarify how the Government of Israel will confront these violations and the impunity of their perpetrators and ensure full accountability for allegations of unlawful killings of journalists, including through independent, impartial, and transparent investigations into all killings in the country in line with international standards, including the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death.
  6. Clarify how the Israeli government respects freedom of expression and access to information in the context of its military operation, including by ensuring unimpeded communication and protecting communications services.

The letter gave the Israeli government 60 days to respond and provide clarifications on the previous points, otherwise the response will be published on the website for the public and presented to the Human Rights Council. Until receiving a response from the Israeli authorities, they must take all necessary temporary measures to stop violations against journalists and media institutions and prevent their recurrence.

It is noteworthy that the Special Rapporteurs (Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion, Matthew Gillett, Vice-Chair of Communications of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1967) have responded to a letter that had been prepared by MADA with signatures of civil society organizations in addition to the signature of the International Network for Defending Freedom of Expression (IFEX) and was sent on November 16th, 2023.