NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 27: Since the beginning of the war in Gaza on October 7, 2023, at least 70 journalists and media workers have been killed, several have been injured and others are missing, according to the data available with the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “Journalism is in the process of being eradicated in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s refusal to heed calls to protect media personnel.”
“The situation is dire for Palestinian journalists trapped in the enclave, where 10 have been killed in the past 3 days, bringing the total media death toll in Gaza since the start of the war to 48, as on November 22, 2023, going by RSF post on platform X.
According to Jonathan Dagher, Head of RSF’s Middle East desk, “The Israeli forces have killed nearly 50 journalists in 45 days in the Gaza Strip, including 11 in the course of their work. This is one of the deadliest tolls in a century. International journalists are banned from entering Gaza. Reporters there have no safe refuge and no way of leaving. They are being killed one after another. Since 7 October, the Palestinian territory has been subjected to a veritable eradication of journalism.”
“We urge the international community to intervene to protect the journalists there, to open the Rafah border crossing, and to enable international reporters to go in”, he added.
The well-known journalist Bilal Jadallah was killed by an Israeli strike that hit his car directly as he was trying to evacuate from Gaza City via the district of Zeitoun on the morning of November 19.. A prominent figure within the Palestinian media community, he held several positions including Chair of the Board of Press House-Palestine, an organisation that supports independent media and journalists in Gaza, RSF noted.
From north to south, a cemetery for journalists
While most of the attacks against journalists were committed in the north of Gaza, where Israeli forces have concentrated their attacks, at least 5 journalists were killed in the south, above all in the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, where much of the territory’s population has sought refuge. Most of the journalists were killed with family members when Israeli strikes hit their homes, RSF said.
As of November 23, 2023, 56 journalists were killed, according to the International Federations of Journalists. The IFJ is working closely with its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) to verify information in real time.
This apart, Palestinian journalists have lost several of their family members. Wael al-Dahdouh, for instance. His wife, son, daughter and grandson were killed in an Israeli air raid.
In the Vietnam War that lasted 2 decades, 63 journalists were killed and a total of 69 were killed in World War II (1939-45) – the bloodiest war the modern world has seen.
According to Al Jazeera, in the war between Russia and Ukraine, 17 journalists in total have been killed since the war began in 2022, the last reported killing being of French cameraman Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff who was killed in May.
The US-led invasion of Iraq sparked a war that was particularly deadly for journalists – and set a trend that has continued. According to the CPJ, 283 journalists have been killed in Iraq since 2003. That includes 11 who were killed in the first month of the war, between March and April 2003, Al Jazeera said.
The war in Syria had zero journalist causalities in its first month of conflict in 2011, although the toll there has since increased dramatically to between 270 and 715, Al Jazeera quoting the Syrian Network for Human Rights added.
Meanwhile, in a critical piece, the French monthly newspaper Le Monde diplomatique has this comment about French newsrooms comparing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza: “The murder of a reporter in Moscow prompts them – rightly – to challenge an authoritarian regime; the killing of 10 Palestinian journalists elicits only a sad shrug. As of October 14, Israel was responsible for the deaths of nearly a third of the journalists killed worldwide in 2023.”