In the midst of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, the dire toll on journalism has been tragically underscored, with at least 21 journalists losing their lives. This grave situation was reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), emphasizing that these journalists, whether Palestinian, Israeli, or Lebanese, are civilians carrying out vital work during a time of crisis. The CPJ strongly condemns the targeting of journalists by warring parties and calls for measures to ensure their safety.
A significant number of journalists have met their untimely end in Gaza, predominantly due to Israeli airstrikes. Among them are notable individuals such as Saeed Al-Taweel, the editor-in-chief of the Al-Khamsa news website, and Mohammed Sobh, a photographer from Khabar news agency. Tragically, they were among the victims of an Israeli warplane attack on an area housing several media outlets in the Rimal district of Gaza on 9 October.
This horrific situation extends to freelancers like Assaad Shamlakh, who, along with nine family members, fell victim to an Israeli airstrike on their home in Sheikh Ijlin in the southern Gaza Strip. Additionally, Salam Mema, a freelance journalist who played a pivotal role in advancing the work of Palestinian journalists, lost her life when her home in the Jabalia camp was struck by an Israeli airstrike on 10 October.
These casualties also encompass Israeli journalists such as Shai Regev, editor of the entertainment news section of Ma’ariv, Ayelet Arnin, a news editor at Kan, and Yaniv Zohar, an Israeli photographer for Israel Hayom. They tragically perished during the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.
The toll on journalists is not limited to the Gaza conflict, as Lebanon witnessed the loss of Issam Abdallah, a videographer for Reuters, who was killed in a shelling attack near the Lebanon border from the direction of Israel.
Amidst this turmoil, it’s crucial to note that eight other journalists have been reported injured, while three are still missing or detained. The CPJ is actively investigating various reports of journalists facing threats, injuries, detention, or even loss of life, in addition to damage to media offices and journalists’ residences.
Furthermore, the conflict has made it exceedingly challenging for journalists from outside the region to access Gaza. The only entry point for journalists, Israel’s Erez crossing, came under attack and remains closed. This has significantly hindered the ability to cover this unfolding crisis effectively.
In summary, this ongoing conflict has exacted a heavy toll on journalists, both Palestinian and Israeli, emphasizing the vital role of journalists and the urgency of protecting their safety in the midst of crisis.