The FPA condemns in the strongest terms the actions by Hamas security forces during a Yasser Arafat memorial event in Rafah. International television crews were detained and ordered to turn over news footage to the authorities. The total ban by the authorities on all stills photographers wanting to cover the same event is unacceptable.
This is the latest in what seems to be a systematic campaign by Hamas to harass and intimidate journalists. Our members are professional journalists working for respected global news organizations. We demand that Hamas let journalists do their work and respect the basic right of freedom of the press.
The Board of the Foreign Press Association
11th November 2010
The FPA is very concerned at recent reports from members in Gaza concerning the local government’s demand for substantial payments for the operation of broadcast and transmission equipment in Gaza.
We strongly protest the manner in which a number of our members have been summoned to local police stations to answer the demand for payment. This is a licensing issue which should not involve the police. Our members are professional journalists working for respected global news organizations, and we expect the local authorities to treat them accordingly.
We would be happy to send a delegation of FPA Board members to meet with the relevant authorities to discuss this and promptly find a satisfactory resolution.
The Board of the Foreign Press Association, 3rd November 2010
The Foreign Press Association strongly protests the brutal treatment of Associated Press photographer Nasser Shiyoukhi at the hands of Israeli security forces on Saturday, Sept. 25. Mr. Shiyoukhi suffered a broken rib in the course of being detained near Beit Omar, where he was trying to cover the weekly protest by local residents and foreign activists.
According to Mr. Shiyoukhi's account, and from video taken at the scene, nothing can justify the verbal and physical abuse he endured. Mr. Shiyoukhi says he was grabbed by border police as he tried to walk away from confrontation. Footage shows him being pushed face-down against a wall and having his helmet pulled off his head. Although he argued and struggled with two security men who grabbed him, at no point did he endanger them. Mr. Shiyoukhi says he was then taken inside the Carmei Tsur settlement, where forces cursed him and at least one kicked him. He later was released without charge. Also, Mr. Shiyoukhi, who is from Hebron and regularly covers the weekly protests, said an Israeli soldier had threatened him on Friday, a day before the incident, warning him he would be hurt if he came to Beit Omar.
We request that the army and border police investigate this outrage and that those responsible be brought to account without undue delay. We also urge that soldiers and border police be made to understand that such behavior is wrong, unprofessional and also counterproductive.
The Board of The Foreign Press Association, 27th September 2010
The FPA strongly protests what appears to be a recent policy change by the Border Police and IDF with regard to legitimate news coverage in the West Bank. Over the past months journalists covering these events have been harassed, arrested and attacked by the various on site forces before these forces turn their attention to the activists or demonstrators.
We would appreciate it were the authorities to remind the various forces involved, that open, unhindered coverage of news events is a widely acknowledged part of the essence of democracy.
Generally speaking this would not include smashing the face of a clearly marked photographer working for a known and accredited news organization with a stick, or for that matter aiming a stun grenade at the head of a clearly marked news photographer or summarily arresting cameramen, photographers and/or journalists.
The Foreign Press Association
July 17th 2010
On Wednesday night in Silwan we had another of a series of occasional incidents over the years when an armed member of the settler community portrayed himself as a foreign correspondent and attacked Palestinians.
We wish to make it clear yet again, Foreign correspondents in Israel and the Occupied Palestinians Territories have never and will never carry weapons.
Any who holds a weapon is therefore by definition not a foreign correspondent.
Anyone who claims to be from the foreign media but who is armed, is lying.
There are no exceptions to this statement throughout Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories.
We totally condemn in the strongest terms anyone who makes forgeries of journalist's I-D cards to carry out violent criminal activities.
The Board of The Foreign Press Association, 4th June 2010
The Foreign Press Association strongly condemns the use of photos and video material shot by foreign journalists, now being put out by the IDF spokesman's office as "captured material".
The material and/or equipment that was confiscated from journalists covering the events on the ships, should be returned to the owners and their media organisations. The use of this material without permission from the relevant media organisations is a clear violation of journalistic ethics and unacceptable. In view of this we urge members to treat the material with appropriate caution.
We call upon the authorities to immediately clarify the source of the material.
The Foreign Press Association, June 3rd 2010
The FPA wishes to protest in the strongest terms this morning's closure of Erez crossing to Foreign journalists despite the Supreme Court ruling from 2009 requiring it to allow access.
Random denial of access to Gaza for the world's media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.
We call on the Israeli authorities to lift this ban immediately in line with the decision of their own country's Supreme Court and the basic principles of democratic statehood.
The Foreign Press Association, 31st May 2010
The Foreign Press Association is deeply concerned with the arrest of British filmmaker and journalist Paul Martin, in Gaza by Hamas authorities. We expect the Hamas as we do all parties, to respect the rights of every journalist on assignment, to work without fear of being arrested. The Foreign Press Association hereby requests the Palestinian Authorities in Gaza to immediatly release Paul Martin.
The Board of The Foreign Press Association, 15th February 2010
The Foreign Press Association is deeply concerned at the announcement by the Palestinian Authority that it intends to suspend the operation of Al Jazeera's bureau in Ramallah. We urge the PA to reconsider and are urgently seeking a resolution in line with the PA's stated commitment to freedom of the press.
The Board of the Foreign Press Association, July 15th 2009
The FPA welcomes today's ruling from the Supreme Court endorsing the principle of unfettered access to the Gaza Strip for the international media.
We believe this decision upholds Israel's own stated commitment to freedom of the press.
The denial for such access in recent months represented a clear violation of that commitment and we are hopeful that such a situation will not recur.
This is a noteworthy decision for freedom of access to journalists in situations of conflict.
The Board of the Foreign Press Association, January 23rd 2009
The Foreign Press Association is alarmed to learn of the heavy firepower currently being employed by Israeli forces against the building in Gaza City that houses the Reuters news agency and other international media outlets. Initial reports are that these attacks have caused injury and damage. We also note that IDF bullets entered the windows of the offices of the Associated Press in a different part of the city today. We call on the military to halt this fire immediately. These are buildings housing journalists working for international news agencies and must not be targeted. We note that these buildings are well known landmarks in Gaza and that the IDF has been clearly notified of their location on several occasions. The Board of the Foreign Press Association, January 15th, 2009
The FPA strongly protests the imposition of closed military zones in large sections of southern Israel, which is occurring on top of the current ban on international journalists entering Gaza.
Taken together, the Gaza ban and the closed military zones amount to serious violations of press freedom. We note with grave concern today's detention of a photographer working for an international news agency and the confiscation of his camera, in addition to an incident on Monday in which a photographer's disk was forcibly erased. With these actions, Israel is seriously hindering the free flow of information on a news story that is of vital interest to readers and viewers around the world. We note that the Israeli government has failed to honor a ruling from its own Supreme Court ordering access to the Gaza Strip for the international media. No good purpose can be served by these unconscionable infringements of basic democratic principles, and we urge the Israeli government to reconsider its stance immediately. The Board of The Foreign Press Association, 13th January 2009.
The FPA is appalled by the statement made this morning on BBC TV by the Israeli ambassador in London indicating that the reason the foreign media have not been allowed into Gaza is due to "infighting" in the FPA.
The FPA wishes to categorically state that the organization has been in full compliance with the decision of the Israeli Surpeme Court. A complete list of names was provided to the authorities who confirmed receipt of the list.
The FPA repeats the request to allow the foreign media to enter Gaza without delay. The Board of the Foreign Press Association, January 7th 2009
See CPJ's letter to Minister of Defense Barak: http://cpj.org/2009/01/cpj-urges-israel-to-open-gaza-to-international-rep.php
The FPA strongly protests the Israeli government's decision to continue the ban on international journalists entering Gaza despite the Supreme Court ruling requiring it to allow access.
The unprecedented denial of access to Gaza for the world's media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.
We call on the Israeli authorities to lift this ban immediately in line with the decision of their own country's Supreme Court and the basic principles of democratic statehood. The Board of the Foreign Press Association, 6th January, 2009
The Foreign Press Association while pleased with the decision if the Israeil High Court to allow limited access to Gaza for foreign journalists, expresses its serious concern about the requirements to use the mechanism of pools which themselves have now been scaled back. We believe the Israeli Government should ensure unfettered access for the world's media to Gaza during this crisis. The FPA declares that it will be responsible exclusively for pool material of its members as submitted on the FPA list. The Foreign Press Association, 2nd January 2009