To mark International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the International Press Institute (IPI) today joins with four other press freedom groups to publish a full-page print ad in The Washington Post calling for an independent, U.S.-led investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
On May 11, 2022, Abu Akleh – known for her fearless and professional reporting on the Palestinian conflict – was killed by Israeli sniper fire while reporting on the ground about an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin. She was wearing a vest and a helmet, clearly marked as “press.”
There has been no proper investigation into her killing. While initially denying responsibility, the Israeli government admitted in September that there was a “high possibility” that Abu Akleh was hit by its forces, but claims this was accidental and refuses to pursue any further investigation.
The lack of real accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is unacceptable – but unfortunately not exceptional. Globally, there is an alarmingly insufficient response from authorities to killings of journalists: in nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. While those who carried out the murder are occasionally sentenced for their crimes, the masterminds behind these killings almost never face justice.
“Israel has failed to fulfill its obligation under international law to promptly and thoroughly investigate attacks on journalists – an obligation that does not disappear in a conflict zone,” IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “We repeat our call for the U.S. to open an independent investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, who was an American citizen,” he added.
The ad is part of The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership, an ongoing initiative that aims to highlight organizations working vigilantly to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the rights of journalists worldwide. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders (RSF), the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the National Press Club also joined IPI in publishing this ad.