On the commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Journalist Support Committee in Palestine has organized in collaboraton with the Palestinian center for development and media freedoms: MADA, a seminar entitled: Journalist Safety and the End of Impunity", on the 1st of November, 2017, in Gaza, Palestine.
The seminar was attended by representatives from UNESCO, MADA organization, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, and a number of journalists and local media representatives.
Mr. Saleh Al Masry described the violations committed against Palestinian journalists as a shock to all press freedom observers, calling for the need to intervene in order to provide protection to journalists in places of their presence.
Mr. Saleh pointed out that more than 517 Israeli violations against journalists were committed since the beginning of the current year, where last July alone witnessed the highest number of violations, amounting to 120 violations. He stated that the occupation continues to arrest about 33 Palestinian journalists in their prisons, some of whom suffer from detention renewal without setting any charges against them.
He also called on international and human rights institutions to exert necessary pressure on Israel to release the detained journalists and to annul its decision to confiscate media equipment in the occupied West Bank, an act aimed to disrupt and incite against media outlets.
Mr. Saleh called on all institutions and unions, interested in developing media personnel, to unite the Palestinian voice to protect the reconciliation and to uniformly transfer the suffering of journalists in all parts of the world.
Regarding the Cyber-Crime law, Mr. Saleh stressed that the law should be reviewed and developed in a manner that protects the Palestinian Journalist and not prosecute them like a sword hanging over the necks of the media.
Dr. Hammad, Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms: MADA, stressed the need to hold all the aggressors accountable for the attacks against journalists, especially those physically assaulting them, and the need for the international community to exert real pressure on the occupation authorities to end their violations against journalists and the Palestinian Media.
He stressed that the failure to bring the perpetrators to international prosecution encourages them to continue violations against journalists, pointing to the closure of media offices and institutions in addition to the multiple arrests of journalists recently committed.
The Dr. called on the International Federation of Journalists to provide protection to Palestinian journalists, and to prosecute the occupation for its crimes and to suspend its membership in the International Federation of Journalists.
Hammad emphasized the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Palestinian Ministry of Justice in documenting the crimes of the occupation against the people of Palestine, especially journalists, and in providing legal briefs to the international courts and submitting requests for urgent trials in European Countries.
In conclusion, Dr. Hammad pointed out that the International Organizations' overlook the israeli aggressions encouraged the perpetrators to continue their arbitrary measures against media outlets and personnel.
During the seminar, Ms. Ma'aly Hazzaz, Project Director, UNESCO, spoke about the role of UNESCO in promoting the safety of journalists and combating impunity, in which it affirmed UNESCO's continued support for Palestine through the exchange of information and the expansion of activities.
Ms. Ma'aly pointed out that President Mahmoud Abbas is the first Arab president to sign agreement, indicating that UNESCO has worked with 10 countries, including Arab countries, to work with the security forces to protect journalists from abuse.
According to Hazzaz, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution at its 68th session in 2013, by which it announced November 2nd as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), this resolution urged member states to take specific measures to end impunity.
In conclusion, she noted that this date was chosen on the anniversary of the assassination of French journalists in Mali.
Ms. Maha Husseini spoke about the role of human rights and media organizations in holding accountable the aggressors against journalists stressing the high level of violations in recent times, whether in Palestine or in any other Arab country.
Ms. Maha noted that impunity provided the green light for continued violations, calling for the need to provide practical mechanisms and a clear program to identify the steps in implementing the responsibility for due protection of all relevant actors in the field.
She explained the importance of activating the proposed measures within the UN plan on the safety of journalists and impunity aimed at working towards building a free and secure environment for journalists and media professionals.
Noting that the most important of these measures was to define the role of United Nations agencies and programs in combating impunity and in addressing the underlying causes of this phenomenon.