Press Releases 8 March: IFJ stands with women journalists in Gaza

8 March: IFJ stands with women journalists in Gaza

Since the start of the war in Gaza, Palestine, on 7 October, journalists and media workers have been specifically targeted. Women journalists have paid a particularly heavy price as women, reporters and mothers. On International Women’s Day, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Gender Council and all IFJ affiliates pay tribute to the courage of women journalists in Gaza and demand safety and the end of the war atrocities, including any form of gender-based violence against women.

As Israel’s ground invasion pushed civilians south of Gaza, journalists and media workers continue to document the situation, simultaneously covering horrifying scenes and living the war, risking their lives and trying to survive. The humanitarian situation has become catastrophic and the risk of famine is at its deepest.

Thirteen women journalists have already lost their lives in Gaza, according to IFJ data. Others are exposed to the daily lack of security and safety.

Displaced, living in shelters with their families, they struggle to provide safety and protection to their children, fearing for their lives. The lack of privacy, the poor health and sanitary conditions including the lack of sanitary pads, have become daily challenges for women journalists.

Yet, women continue reporting.

We continue reporting the truth, but overcoming the anxiety and stress is challenging. We think about our family, about air strikes in their surroundings. And my family worries about me. Each time I say farewell to my kids they tell me not to go because the aircraft are in the sky”, says Baida Mu’ammar from Palestine TV 

Nothing equals the strength of a Palestinian journalist who faces death with one eye and reports the truth with the other. My feeling of disappointment was overwhelming when I decided to leave Gaza. I felt forced to leave because of the lack of protection and security for women journalists during the war. I cannot forget how I used to cover the war, leaving behind my young  hungry children and my sick old mother. So, I decided to leave my beloved Gaza, my homeland, in order to protect what was left of my family. Feelings of pain and despair overwhelm me because of the silence and injustice of international community“, said IFJ Gender Council Amal Toman who left Gaza 2 months ago

The work of women journalists in Gaza is instrumental in bringing global attention to the situation and provides another perspective on the war. On 8 March, the IFJ Gender Council and IFJ affiliates pay tribute to the courage of women journalists in Gaza, praise them for their extraordinary work in covering the war under such circumstances, and urge all combatants to declare an immediate ceasefire in Gaza “, said IFJ Gender Council chair Maria Angeles Samperio

When the war started, the Israeli government blocked civilian access to the enclave and Gaza’s journalists have been the only ones bearing witness and documenting the ongoing atrocities. Israel’s media ban not only prevents international media from doing their work and exerts extra pressure on local journalists, but also deprives the public of its right to freedom of expression.

Any attempt to target journalists is a violation of international instruments that protect human rights and media workers in conflict zones, while depriving the public’s right to know. Today the IFJ stands in solidarity with women journalists reporting war in Gaza and strictly condemns all forms of gender-based violence”, said IFJ President Dominique Pradalié.

The IFJ Gender Council and IFJ affiliates call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prioritise the investigation of Shireen Abu Akleh’s case, as well as other Palestinian journalists killed by the Israeli army. Many of them were women journalists.

By the latest court, 98 journalists have been killed in Gaza since the Hamas-led attack on 7 October. The IFJ restates of the absolute necessity for all journalists to report freely and safely from Gaza and urges world governments to adopt a binding international convention to secure the safety and independence of journalists.

To support women journalists in Gaza and provide them with food, warm clothes, press equipment and women’s specific needs, donate to the IFJ safety fund using communication “PJS- Women”.

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