The World Association of News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) have deplored the deaths of six Palestinian journalists in Gaza as a result of the weekend’s killings and the resultant escalating confrontation between the Israeli military and the Hamas group, Wan-Ifra’s Andrew Heslop reported.
News reports confirmed three journalists died in Gaza on Tuesday following IDF operations under a state of war declared on Sunday. Saeed al-Taweel, editor-in-chief of the Al-Khamsa News website, Mohammad Subh, and Hisham Al-Nawajha were all killed when an area near the Hiji tower was bombed.
According to reports from Palestinian press freedom groups and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), three Palestinian journalists were shot dead while reporting on Saturday: Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi, a photographer for Ain Media; Mohammad Jarghoun, a reporter with Smart Media; and freelance journalist Mohammad El-Salhi.
“We are deeply disturbed by the deaths of six Palestinian colleagues and call on all sides in this conflict to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of media professionals,” said a statement from Wan-Ifra.
“Equally, we urge all journalists fulfilling the vital job of reporting from Gaza and Israel to exercise the utmost caution as the violence intensifies and the likelihood of additional civilian casualties increases.”
While unequivocally condemning Hamas militants for the brutal, indiscriminate murder of hundreds of Israelis during a series of apparently coordinated ground and air attacks this weekend, Wan-Ifra called on Israeli leaders to ensure their military response avoids any further deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza, including journalists.
“Despite what is an incredibly tragic and painful moment, Israel must respect international humanitarian law as it pursues its retaliation for these heinous acts,” continued the statement from Wan-Ifra.
“We urge an immediate end to the fighting that is placing innocent lives at extreme risk on both sides.”
Wan-Ifra has urged all media organizations, local and foreign news teams alike, to prioritize the safety of their people working on the ground. This includes providing all necessary safety equipment, logistical assistance, and dedicated newsroom support to those at greatest risk. More information about safety and reporting from conflict areas can be found on CPJ’s website.