The IPI global network is horrified by the continually growing death toll suffered by journalists and civilians amid the Israel-Gaza war. We strongly urge Israel to uphold journalists’ rights to cover the conflict in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law, and to protect the safety of reporters, media workers, and their families.
As many as 50 journalists and media workers have been killed since the start of the Israel-Gaza war, according to (IPI) data – a harrowing figure that demands immediate action to protect the safety of journalists and other civilians.
The vast majority of the journalists included in IPI’s data were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. IPI’s tally includes both journalists killed while on assignment as well as journalists who are among the civilian casualties of missile strikes and other attacks. Of the 50 killed journalists and media personnel, at least 11 were killed on assignment. Over 100 journalists have been injured while more than 30 have been detained, according to figures by local monitoring groups. Of the 50 killed journalists, the vast majority were Palestinians. Since October 7, four Israeli and three Lebanese journalists have also been killed.
“The killings of 50 journalists and media workers since October 7, mostly inside Gaza, is a horrific statistic that lays bare the suffering of civilians as part of this war – a category that includes journalists”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “We deplore the killings of all journalists and innocent civilians and reiterate our call first for immediate measures by warring parties to take all necessary steps to uphold journalist safety and second for all killings of journalists to be investigated by international teams.”
He added: “Amid an information blackout and the barring of international journalists from entering Gaza, the world depends heavily on Palestinian journalists for coverage of the war. We stand behind all of them in their incredible courage as they seek to document this war for the world. We also demand that Israel allow international journalists to enter Gaza and report freely from the territory.”
Recent victims of Israeli strikes include Belal Jadallah, the chairman of the Press House-Palestine, an organization dedicated to promoting freedom of expression and the protection of journalists. Jadallah was reportedly killed in Israeli shelling in Zeitoun as he was heading south out of Gaza City. A few days before, on November 13, Jadallah’s colleague Ahmed Fatima, a photographer for Egypt-based Al Qahera News TV and a media worker with Press House-Palestine, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza.
The death toll only continues to grow. According to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, on November 20, Gaza-based digital journalist and podcast presenter Ayat Al-Khaddura was killed by an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza. Throughout the conflict, Al-Khaddura had been covering the situation in Gaza on social media. On the same day, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed journalist Alaa Taher Al-Hasanat and members of her family in Gaza, according to PJS and Quds News Network.
Today, on November 21, reporter Farah Omer and cameraman Rabih al-Maamari, who work for Al-Mayadeen, a pro-Palestinian and pro-Iranian broadcaster based in Lebanon, were reportedly killed near the Israel-Lebanon border. Al-Mayadeen Director Ghassan bin Jiddo said the journalists were targeted deliberately and their killing occurred soon after the Israeli government’s decision to block the channel’s website.
Israel has not signaled sufficient willingness to ensure the safety and protection of journalists and media workers in Gaza. On October 28, Israeli Defence Forces declared to international media organizations Reuters and AFP that they could not guarantee the safety of their employees – which IPI last month called unacceptable as conflict parties have a responsibility to protect civilians, including journalists.
At present, international journalists are generally not allowed to enter and report from the Gaza Strip. Limited international coverage in recent days has been strictly controlled by the Israeli Defence Forces.
Under the 1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, journalists and media workers covering armed conflict must be treated and protected as civilians and must be allowed to report on events without undue interference. The intentional targeting of journalists, as civilians, is a war crime.