- December 30, 2008
IFJ condemns IOF shelling of Aqsa TV
The International Federation of Journalists has condemned the Israeli occupation forces for shelling and completely destroying the Aqsa TV premises in Gaza city during its air raids on Gaza.
“Once again, Israel shows contempt for international law, which forbids attacks on media installations, even when they are instruments of propaganda,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
“Putting media people in harm’s way does not advance one inch the cause of security as it only hardens attitudes and undermines Israel’s claim to be the region’s leading democracy,” he elaborated in a statement.
The IFJ and other press freedom advocates have consistently condemned attacks on unarmed media installations which are not being used for military purposes and which are protected under international law. It has previously condemned Israel for attacking the premises of Palestine Broadcasting Corporation in the West Bank and has criticized the United States for assaults on media in Iraq.
“The fact that Al Aqsa Television broadcasts material which Israel finds offensive is no excuse for military strikes on unarmed civilians,” said White. “This type of assault shows that when it comes to its own military and political agenda Israel is willing to abandon its responsibilities under international law.”
“Israel”s ongoing attacks on Gaza present a serious risk to security of journalists and media staff,” said White, in another statement. “The whole world is watching and journalists trying to cover the story are inevitably in the firing line.”
The statement was denouncing the death of Hamza Shahin, a photographer with Shehab News Agency, who died on Friday. He had been wounded in an Israeli air attack on 7 December in northern Gaza.
The current conflict in Gaza takes place at a time when Israel continues to deny access to foreign journalists into Gaza putting even more pressure on the local reporters and camera staff who supply foreign networks, the statement added.
It said that the IFJ is particularly concerned that journalists will be further exposed as they seek to report from locations which are likely to come under attack.
“The pressure on journalists is intense, “said White.”Israel should allow foreign journalists into Gaza and must at the same time ensure its military activities comply with international law, especially United Nations Resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists and media staff.”