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May 21, 2007

Journalists Under Fire in Gaza

Ha'aretz reports today on the occupational hazards for journalists in Gaza:

But since the Hamas-Fatah infighting in Gaza began last week, being kidnapped is no longer the greatest danger facing journalists. On the very first day of the clashes, a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated paper Falastin was shot dead, along with another employee of the paper.

"The danger is real," said an employee of a foreign news agency. "Journalists have stopped leaving their houses. You can't move in the streets for fear of being hit by a stray bullet."

"And even if you stay home and don't move, that doesn't mean you're safe," he continued. "So many media offices have been hit during the battles because they are located in strategic, multistory buildings: Al Jazeera, Reuters, German television, Radio Al-Quds, private production companies and others."

As a result, foreign correspondents have stayed away, hiring local journalists instead:

A., who writes for a Palestinian paper, also noted that since BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped, "foreign journalists have virtually stopped coming to Gaza. The foreign media have to make do with us - the locals."

But despite this grim picture, he stressed: "There is more freedom of the press in Gaza than in any other Arab country." Even the foreign media understand that "despite all the pressures on us, we can still provide an accurate picture [of events]," he said.

Unfortunately, though, the historical record on Palestinian stringers has not always been quite as promising as A. claims. Talal Abu Rahma of the Al Durra scandal, and Faiz Abu Smala, a Hamas man who worked for BBC, come to mind.

Posted by TS at May 21, 2007 04:39 AM


Not quite true. FOr weeks after Johnston's kidnap, the British press corps, like Don McIntyre and Stephen Farrell, made daytrips to Gaza through Erez. They are no longer sending the night. This week, with fighting stepped up, few are risking travel

Posted by: izzy at May 21, 2007 07:48 AM

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