FPA asks for Enquiry:The Foreign Press Association, FPA, has today instructed our lawyers to respectfully request the Military Advocate General of the Israeli Defence Force IDF to conduct a criminal inquiry into the unprovoked attack on an FPA member on August 17th 2012 by the IDF.
Since the attack took place we have consulted with the Journalists Association in Jerusalem, which represents Israeli journalists; the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International News Safety Institute. All these bodies have told us they support the action we are now taking.
Despite requesting formally in writing and asking informally through various government channels the IDF have so far told us nothing about the nature of their inquiry. We don’t know whether the men seen on the video beating up our members with clubs have been suspended or even identified.
To the best of our knowledge, the IDF has refrained in the past from conducting a criminal, rather than just an operational, inquiry when journalists have been attacked. We believe that the incident in question exceeds all of the expected norms from a professional army and professional soldiers, and we demand that an official criminal inquiry will be conducted immediately.
That is the course of action we are asking the Military Advocate General to take today
NOTE: Below are statements in support of our action.
“Incidents like that shows the opposite of the behaviour by soldiers in the army of a democratic state.
Following my letter to the chief of staff, the JAJ join the demand for a full inquiry and call to review the IDF policy
toward journalists. “ DANNY ZAKEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION IN JERUSALEM
יו"ר אגודת העיתונאים ירושלים
Statement 2 :
‘We join with our colleagues in the Foreign Press Association in demanding a full and impartial inquiry into the recent incident in which in journalists were viciously beaten by members of the IDF,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon “The actions of IDF soldiers caught on video are reprehensible. Those responsible must be held to account.”
Committee to Protect Journalists www.cpj.org
"This appears to be a horrible, unprovoked attack on journalists peacefully going about their lawful business. It must be fully and openly investigated and the perpetrators held to account," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"Impunity for those who attack journalists is a major driver behind the violence and this has become a matter of great concern to the international community. Israel must not align itself with those rogue nations who tolerate attacks on journalists and hence freedom of the press, a cornerstone of democracy."
The International News Safety Institute http://www.newssafety.org/
The Annual General Meeting was held on Monday April 30th, 2012. A new Board came into office. The Guest Speaker was the Israeli Minister of Defence, Ehud Barak.
IPI Headquarters: Spiegelgasse 2/29 I 1010 Vienna I Austria
T: + 43 1 512 90 11 I F: + 43 1 512 90 14 I E: email@example.com I W: www.freemedia.at
Open Letter to Leaders of Israel and Palestinian Territories: Leaders Must Protect Journalists Rights
Israeli and Palestinian Journalists Forum Calls for Press Freedom Ahead of Possible UN Recognition of Palestine
Vienna, 29 August 2011
Dear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Dear President Mahmoud Abbas, Dear Ismail Haniyeh,
We, a forum of journalists from Israel and the Palestinian Territories, are writing today to urge you as the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian National Authority and Gaza to respect the rights of journalists operating in your territories.
The IPI Israeli-Palestinian Journalists Forum is a group of 25 journalists from Israel and Palestinian Territories who gathered together in support of press freedom in June 2011 in Vienna at the initiative of the International Press Institute (IPI), the world's oldest press freedom organization.
The Palestinian National Authority is currently working toward the recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations. This is a matter of interest to the region and the world, but moreover, to every person living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. That is why journalists working for Palestinian and Israeli media must be allowed to do their work without restriction. This is a matter of democratic principle. Journalists must be allowed to access and gather information without restriction. Journalists must also be free to responsibly publish news and commentary, without fear of attack or legal reprisal.
This is necessary so that the public in Israel and the Palestinian Territories have access to news from all sides, and to a wide array of political opinion. Journalists must be kept safe so that the people they serve can be kept informed.
The recent events in south Israel and Gaza make press more important than ever. Journalists must be permitted to work on the ground, so that they can report on the social and humanitarian aspects of attacks on all sides, and not just on military and political news. When journalists are prevented from travelling, or are arrested or threatened with attack, they are less able and less likely to report in-depth stories from the other side, and it is the public that suffers because it receives limited information.
Meeting at their first session in 1946, the U.N. General Assembly declared: "Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and is the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated. Freedom of information implies the right to gather, transmit and publish news anywhere and everywhere without fetters. As such it is an essential factor in any serious effort to promote the peace and progress of the world."
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
We hope that you, as leaders in the region, will respect the rights of each person living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories to access information and news that will help them to understand and make informed decisions about their government and future.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response, and would be happy to meet and discuss this issue with you at your convenience.
Steering Committee IPI -Israeli-Palestinian Journalists Forum (IPJF)
Taghreed El Khodary
Alison Bethel McKenzie
International Press Institute (IPI)
Israel's Government Press Office sends a warning to journalists not to participate in news coverage on the upcoming Gaza flotilla from on board one of the boats and threatens punitive measures against anyone who does so:
The FPA lawyers last night -- 26th June 2011 -- informed the GPO that the FPA rejects the letter from the authorities and their ban on coverage of the Gaza flotilla. Furthermore the laywyers contend that legal basis for the warning to journalists is shaky at best.
The FPA's reaction to GPO threats to take dire measures against journalists daring to cover the upcoming Gaza flotilla other than from distant sterile positions provided by the authorities at the Ashdod port with no direct access to the events as they transpire has had a resounding effect from the Jerusalem Journalists Association chairman Dany Zaken who commented:"The Journalists association condemns the decision made by the GPO and call to abolish it. Journalists are not activists, and democratic countries should and must let them do their job. The threats are putting Israel shoulder to shoulder with regimes that depress freedom of the press"
So too the Association for Civil Rights in Israel: ACRI to Government Press Office : Retract Baseless Demand that Foreign Journalists must not to Board the Gaza Flotilla
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) urged the director of the Israeli Government Press Office to retract statements he had made earlier today claiming that foreign journalists wishing to board the ships of the Gaza-bound flotilla will be viewed as deliberately violating the Israeli law, and such actions may result in the confiscation of equipment and a prohibition to enter Israel for the duration of up to ten years.
In the letter, ACRI Attorney Oded Feller states that such claims are legally baseless and stand in clear contradiction to the role of journalists in a free society and the responsibility of the Government Press Office to maintain freedom of press, concluding: "Should the Israeli authorities decide to drag ships into Israel’s borders, and as a result will bring into Israel those present on those ships, it may not be claimed that they had entered the country illegally".
June 27th 2011
The FPA strongly condemns the actions of the Israeli police detail guarding Israel opposition leader Tzipi Livni after the correspondents for The Times, James Hider, and for National Public Radio (NPR) Lourdes Garcia Navarro, were randomly detained on the night of 27th December while trying to cover Ms Livni’s speech on the delegitimization of Israel before the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) conference at the Gate Hotel in Jerusalem.
Such interference in the routine work of journalists is in violation all the principles of the functioning of a free media . We urge authorities to investigate this incident, and take all necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated.
The Board of the Foreign Press Association 29.12.10