September 26 marks the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Journalists. This day was announced by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) after the Tunnel Intifada in 1996 where tens of Palestinian journalists were injured by Israeli forces while they were covering Israeli violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). On that day, IFJ called on international journalists to enhance their solidarity with Palestinian journalists in order to confront Israel’s systematic and grave violations of international law.
Palestinian journalists continue to face death and injury, arbitrary arrest – including by degrading procedures – and destruction and confiscation of equipment. The Israeli forces have frequently targeted media outlets and press offices causing destruction to their offices and vehicles and disrupting the broadcasting of Palestinian TV channels.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) reaffirms the important role of the press in the society. Al Mezan stresses that journalists must be allowed to carry out their work freely, and exercise freedom of expression, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 19 and 27 of the Amended Palestinian Basic Law, and Article 2 of the Palestinian Law No. 9 of 1995 on Printing and Publishing. Furthermore, in times of armed conflict, journalists are considered civilians and must be granted due protection, as stated in Article 79 of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which represents customary international humanitarian law.
Al Mezan voices our solidarity with Palestinian journalists and appreciates their role in defending human rights and disclosing Israeli violations committed against Palestinians in the oPt and in Israel. Al Mezan calls on: