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Stop Killing Journalists – Save The Free Press From Gaza To Aotearoa - Vigil Tomorrow

Shireen Abu Akleh, a prominent Palestinian-American journalist, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier while wearing a blue press vest and covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank two years ago.

A vigil is being held to mark the anniversary of her killing and those of around 100 of her journalism colleagues since then at Wellington’s Midland Park this Saturday.

At first, Israel claimed Abu Akleh has been shot by a Palestinian militant. When that story became untenable, due to video evidence, the IDF launched its own investigation which declared there was a high probability that the Al Jazeera journalist had been accidentally hit and there would no further criminal investigation.

Abu Akleh was far from the first Palestinian journalist killed by the IDF. The Committee to Protect Journalists documented the killing of 25 Palestinian journalists in Israel and the Occupied Territories between 1992 and October 6 last year.

Since October 7 more journalists have been killed during Israel’s invasion of Gaza than any other war this century.

The Committee to Project Journalist says at least 97 journalists and media workers have been killed since the Hamas attack on October 7.

Ninety-two Palestinians, three Lebanese, and two Israelis.

Reporters Without Borders and a group of UN experts – including four special rapporteurs – have separately asked the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into whether Israel is targeting journalists.

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And the Committee for the Protection of Journalists issued a statement in December saying it was alarmed by reports of journalists in Gaza receiving death threats and then their families being killed.

“The killing of the family members of journalists in Gaza is making it almost impossible for the journalists to continue reporting, as the risk now extends beyond them also to include their beloved ones,” a spokesperson said.

In November, E Tu – the union that represents journalists in New Zealand – and Kawea Te Rongo, the Independent Māori Journalist Association, joined more than 80 other journalist unions and associations from around the world in calling on Israel to “take explicit steps to protect the lives of journalists covering the war in Gaza.”

The killing has gone on unabated.

Last Sunday Israel closed Al Jazeera’s office in occupied East Jerusalem, confiscating broadcast equipment and taking the channel off air.

Al Jazeera is one of the only international broadcasters on the ground in Gaza and its journalists continue the vital work of Shireen Abu Akleh in documenting the harsh realities of life in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Locking Al Jazeera out of Israel and occupied Palestine and murdering journalists and their families at an unprecedented rate is an assault on press freedom everywhere.

The vigil, organised by Justice for Palestine, kicks off at 11:30am, Saturday 11, at Midland Park.

© Scoop Media

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