The Israeli media are free to be outspoken, which is rare in the Middle East. Nonetheless, despite the existence of independent media, journalists are exposed to open hostility from members of the government. Smear campaigns have been waged against media outlets and journalists by politicians with the help of their party and supporters, exposing the targets to harassment and anonymous messages and forcing them seek personal protection. Journalists have also been subjected to “military censorship,” orders banning coverage of certain subjects and private-sector lawsuits designed to gag them.
Because of self-censorship, there is little or no coverage of the reality of life in the Palestinian territories. Foreign freelancers often have difficulties in obtaining or renewing accreditation. The Israel Defence Forces often violate the rights of Palestinian journalists, especially when they are covering demonstrations or clashes in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian journalists were killed by IDF snipers and dozens were wounded while covering the “March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip in 2018.
Many other journalists have been wounded while covering the protests that have been repeated every week since then. In the West Bank, the IDF have used live rounds to disperse protests, exposing reporters to the possibility of serious injury. At least three Palestinian journalists have permanently lost the use of an eye in this way. Many others have fallen victim to Israel’s system of administrative detention, under which they can be held indefinitely, without formal charge and without notification of a lawyer, on the basis of “confidential” evidence that they are inciting violence or cooperating with terrorist organizations. The IDF have harassed or closed many Palestinian media outlets in recent years for allegedly inciting violence.
88 in 2019
30.80 in 2019