ACCRA, (In Palestine Today) African journalists’ leaders have called on the African Union and governments in the continent to unequivocally condemn Israel’s deliberate targeting of journalists and news media organizations, and hold Israel legally accountable for crimes committed against media workers during its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in occupied Palestine.
The hard-hitting resolution came at the end of a two-day African Journalists Leadership Conference which took place in Accra, Ghana from June 1-2. Organized by the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) in collaboration with its Ghana affiliate, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), discussions centered on the challenges facing African journalism, and the precarious working conditions of journalists in Africa and throughout the world.
Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, opened the conference and condemned the continued persecution of media by governments.
Coming less than a week after Israel ended its brutal bombing campaign of the besieged Gaza Strip where it destroyed a building that housed the Associated Press news agency and several other media outlets, the FAJ condemned the “total impunity” that Israel enjoyed in its killing of journalists and destruction of media offices “under the bogus pretext of self-defense.”
The destruction of the Al-Jalaa building was widely regarded as a brazen attempt to silence journalists covering Israel’s military attacks. In less than a week, Israel bombed the offices of at least 18 media outlets.
In early June, Israeli police assaulted and arrested Al Jazeera journalist, Givara Budeiri, while she was covering a demonstration against the forced expulsions of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Muna and Mohammed al-Kurd, who are running a viral social media campaign about Sheikh Jarrah, were also arrested around the same time.
The conference delegates – who represented all five regions of the African continent – collectively condemned the pressure that Israel was exerting on news media organizations “to sack and censor Palestinian journalists who are advocating for media freedom and protesting against the violations of the rights of Palestinians.” Associated Press fired 22-year old journalist, Emily Wilder, for her pro-Palestine views.
African governments were urged “to stand on the right side of history” by unequivocally condemning the human rights violations committed by the Israeli government. The search for permanent solutions, said FAJ President Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, required governmental interventions.
The Federation of African Journalists also pledged to renew its solidarity with Palestinian journalists and their union, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and fully supports the demands made by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to protect and obtain justice for Palestinian journalists.
Along with the resolution on Palestine, the conference also adopted resolutions relating to the FIFA World Cup and the strengthening of journalists’ unions and associations.
Widely regarded as the global voice of journalists, the IFJ is the world’s largest organization of journalists, representing 600,000 media professionals in 187 unions and associations in more than 140 countries.
Source: Afro-Palestine Newswire Service