Brussels, 20 February 2018 – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the commitment of an influential group of MEPs to help tackle a growing crisis of tackle media rights violations facing Palestinian journalists.
The commitment came during a meeting at the European Parliament (EP) on 20 February that brought together MEPs, including the chair and vice-chair of the EP´s Delegation for relations with Palestine, as well as representatives from the IFJ and its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists´ Syndicate (PJS).
During the event, PJS President Nasser Abu Bakar presented the union’s report documenting more than 900 violations of journalists’ rights and attacks on media carried out against Palestinian journalists in 2017. The report highlighted a 36% increase compared to the 2016 figures. Violations by Israeli forces were also up by a third. Marleen Nazzal, wife of broadcast journalists and PJS board member Omar Nazzal, who has been subjected to administrative detention told the meeting about the impact of such attacks on her family.
¨Every one of the 909 violations recorded also represents a human tragedy – journalists injured, journalists imprisoned, journalists beaten, journalists prevented from working, journalists fined. The results of the Israeli actions are shocking. They represent a serious escalation in an already serious situation. They represent one of the gravest violations of the rights of professional journalists anywhere in the world, they represent a systematic attempt to silence the voice of Palestinian journalists,¨ said IFJ Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Dear.
MEPs Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL), Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), Edouard Martin (S&D) and Magrete Auken (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) committed to help raise concerns regarding the use of administrative detention to silence journalists and media, to support calls for investigations into cases of jailed journalists and attacks on media workers highlighted in the PJS report and to invite the PJS to address a future meeting of the Delegation.
An EU delegation will visit Palestine in September this year and will meet with the PJS and relatives of jailed journalists.
PJS President Nasser Abu Bakar said: “The support of our MEP colleagues is very important and we will welcome them to Palestine to witness for themselves the abuses and daily attacks faced by our colleagues. We are calling for action to stop the attacks, stop the human rights violations and protect the right of journalists to report the truth.”