On Sunday, 11 July 2021, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a new report titled “Press Freedom and Media in the Crossfire”, which focuses on the impact of Israel’s May 2021 offensive against the Gaza Strip on the freedom of the press and of information. The report, currently available in Arabic only, will be available in English in the coming weeks.
The report presents information and documentation collected by Al Mezan’s researchers and field workers as well as testimonies of affected journalists regarding Israel’s military attacks that hindered the media coverage of its military offensive against Gaza, which, as evidenced by Al Mezan’s documentation, was characterized by concentrated attacks on protected civilians and civilian objects. The report details how both Palestinian and international journalists have suffered injuries and damage to their equipment, with the Israeli military deliberately targeting media offices, ultimately destroying 51 and causing damage to 22 others. Notably, throughout the offensive, the Israeli authorities also denied foreign reporters access to Gaza, thereby further obstructing the media coverage of the offensive.
As noted in the report, Israeli attacks on journalists and media outlets—particularly the destruction of the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera in Gaza—drew international outrage and criticism, which has partially contributed to mounting pressure on Israel to end its military offensive.
The findings presented in the report show that, by pursuing such conduct towards journalists and the media, the Israeli military not only violated the protection guaranteed to journalists by customary international humanitarian law, but also severely undermined their enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular the right to life and physical integrity, as well as the freedom of all persons to seek, receive, and impart information.