RSF urges White House to step up protections for journalists in Gaza

In a meeting at the White House on November 21, 2023, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged senior National Security Council officials to do more to protect journalists in one of the 21st century’s deadliest conflicts for journalists. RSF has conveyed suggestions for protecting journalists and improving access for journalists struggling to cover the conflict.

RSF met senior National Security Council officials on November 21, 2023, at the White House about journalism in Gaza and requested several urgent protection measures. 

RSF has noted that the strict limitations imposed on the import of goods have made it nearly impossible to get resources to journalists on the ground in Gaza. These include basic necessities like phones, chargers, and cameras. Meanwhile, the journalists who are in Gaza cannot leave, and the only outside media permitted to enter have been invited to embed with Israel Defence Forces (IDF) forces and submit to strict rules controlling what they can see and share. While embedded coverage is valuable, it is no substitute for independent reporting. 

“Journalists are being killed at a rate of more than one a day. On top of that, Israeli authorities have instituted a de facto media blackout of Gaza. We urge the White House to do its utmost to protect journalists in Gaza, for international media to access Gaza, and for telecommunications to be permanently maintained. The world needs to know what is going on, but in the absence of objective reporting, propaganda thrives.

Clayton Weimers
Executive Director, RSF USA

A rising death toll

At least 48 journalists, including 11 in the course of their duties, have been killed in Gaza in a conflict with no end in sight for the carnage. Journalists have been killed at a rate of more than one a day since the October 7th Hamas attack. The death toll alone betrays a systematic disregard for international humanitarian law. That’s why RSF has urged the White House and President Joe Biden to do more to support journalists, including putting pressure on the Israeli government to uphold its obligations to protect civilian lives, including those of journalists

The plight of journalists is not restricted to Gaza. Four Israeli journalists were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7th on the Kfar Aza rave party and kibbutz near the Gaza Strip. Three journalists have also been killed in Lebanon, including Reuters reporter Issam Abdallah, who was killed in a rocket attack from the direction of the Israeli border. RSF investigated and has concluded that Issam Abdallah was likely targeted. Journalists and their crews have also been harassed and threatened in Israel and the West Bank since the conflict broke out.

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