News leaders express solidarity with journalists in Gaza

1st March 2024
News editors and chiefs from over thirty media organisations have signed an open letter calling for journalists in Gaza to be protected.
A press photojournalist is holding a camera with a zoom lens and is photographing war and conflict. Credit: chameleonseye / iStock

An open letter signed by over thirty editors of world leading organisations, including the Asahi Shimbun, the BBC, CNN, the Daily Maverick, Der Spiegel, Haaretz, and Rappler, has expressed support for journalists in Gaza.

The letter was coordinated by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“We, the undersigned, stand united with Palestinian journalists in their call for safety, protection, and the freedom to report,” the letter says. “These journalists – on whom the international news media and the international community rely for information about the situation inside Gaza – continue to report despite grave personal risk.”

Read more: PMA & partners call on EU to help journalists in Israel-Gaza war

89 Palestinian journalists have been killed by the Israeli military, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, making it the highest ever number of journalists to be killed in one country in an entire year.

“Journalists are civilians and Israeli authorities must protect journalists as noncombatants according to international law. Those responsible for any violations of that longstanding protection should be held accountable. Attacks on journalists are also attacks on truth. We commit to championing the safety of journalists in Gaza, which is fundamental for the protection of press freedom everywhere.”

The letter from the news editors follows 55 American and British journalists and correspondents, calling for the governments of Egypt and Israel to give journalists full access into Gaza.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward remains the only journalist to have been permitted entry into Gaza without being embedded with the Israeli army, but still had to comply with strict conditions. Consequently, international media have been heavily reliant upon journalists who were in Gaza before the 7 October attacks.

“It’s vital that local journalists’ safety is respected and that their efforts are bolstered by the journalism of members of the international media,” said the journalists in a letter. “The need for comprehensive on the ground reporting of the conflict is imperative.”

In an accompanying editorial, Sky News’ Special Correspondent, Alex Crawford, explained why it was necessary to allow more journalists in. “In every conflict I have covered throughout my career it has been necessary – actually imperative – to rotate fresh reporting teams into the story. … The brave and diligent journalists who have been reporting on the ground in Gaza have done so without respite for nearly 150 days.”

With the prevalence of mis- and disinformation, uncertain statistics, and competing claims which have marked this war, she said, “there is no substitute to having journalist boots on the ground and seeing it for yourself.”