ARTICLE 19 strongly condemns the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was shot on 11 May while reporting on raids in Palestine’s occupied West Bank.
Abu Akleh, who had been reporting on Israel and Palestine for more than 15 years, was shot in the head while she was reporting on raids in the city of Jenin. She was wearing a flak jacket displaying the word ‘press’ on it. This was confirmed by eyewitnesses, including fellow reporters, who say she was also wearing a helmet and that she was directly targeted.
The eyewitness reports indicate that Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) carried out the attack, though this has not been officially confirmed. Al-Jazeera also blamed Israeli forces for Abu Akleh’s death.
“This is a shocking murder of a journalist who should have been protected while doing her job – especially in a conflict zone,” said ARTICLE 19’s Director of Middle East and North Africa, Saloua Ghazouani. “Those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh should be held accountable. ARTICLE 19 calls for an immediate, thorough and independent investigation into the journalist’s death.”
A week on from World Press Freedom Day, which highlighted the need for greater protections for journalists, the killing of Abu Akleh is a shocking reminder of how much more is needed from governments around the world before media workers are safe – and that they are so often in danger from the very authorities tasked with protecting them. Governments must also hold their military forces to account when they are responsible for deaths, as appears to be the case in the murder in the West Bank.
The last seven days have also seen the horrific murders of three journalists in Mexico.
Yesenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana García from the El Veraz news website were shot and killed on Monday, 9 May in the eastern state of Veracruz. Luis Enrique Ramírez, who worked for El Debate in Sinaloa, was killed on 5 May, also after being shot.
The state attorney general confirmed that investigations were being carried out into the murders of Mollinedo and García.