A Call for the Safety and Freedom of Expression of Journalists Covering the Israel-Hamas War
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 39 journalists and media workers — 34 Palestinian, 4 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese — have been killed since October 7th. Four journalists were killed in Israel by Hamas. Thirty-two more died amid the bombardment of Gaza, at least twenty-four of whom were killed by Israeli airstrikes. As CPJ notes, this is, among the more than 10,000 deaths since the war began, the highest number of journalists to have died in the first weeks of a conflict in more than thirty years.
As of November 2, the CPJ has also reported eight injured journalists, and three missing or detained. In addition, we see at least nine arrests, along with threats of censorship.
Journalists play a vital role in reporting on and explaining events that are often clouded by accusation, misinformation, and the fog of war. Journalists’ dedication to the truth helps all of us better understand what is at stake in a time of war.
We are calling for the belligerents in the war to take all responsible precautions to protect journalists and guarantee their freedom to report information without restriction or censorship.
In both Gaza and Israel, journalists reporting on the war have indicated they lack protective equipment. And CPJ is investigating reports that dozens of media offices in Gaza have been attacked by Israeli bombardment, leaving many journalists with no safe place to report from — all while they work around food, water and power shortages and an Internet blackout.
Even journalists who are not in the field of conflict find themselves increasingly targeted by social media and doxxing campaigns that impinge on their ability to gather and disseminate information. This climate of fear impedes reporting and leaves us all worse off.
Reporters face exponential risks, regardless of where they are based. It is vital that the press has safe, secure access to be able to report out of Gaza and tell the stories that the global public deserves to hear. Journalists have a fundamental right to cover the news.
Columbia Journalism School honors those who have died while endeavoring to defend those principles. We commend the organizations that support these reporters on the ground, and the bravery of those reporting with integrity and rigor despite the danger it poses. And, we demand the safety and freedom of expression for all media members working in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Juan Manuel Benítez
Duy Linh Tu