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IFJ Condemns Gaza Attack and Demands International Inquiry after Reports of Media Casualties
May 31, 2010The International Federation of Journalists(IFJ) today reacted with shock at the news of the brutal attacks on civilians, including journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that yesterday tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine.
The IFJ said that reports of casualties - including possible deaths of media staff - were unconfirmed and a curtain of secrecy drawn around the incident by the Israeli authorities was increasing anxiety among friends and relatives.
The IFJ is calling for an urgent and comprehensive international investigation into the incident and for the information blackout to be lifted.
"We join the European Union in demanding a full inquiry which must be independent in order to be credible. We condemn any attempt at the blackout and censorship of news by the Israeli authorities which is hindering journalists from giving an accurate account of what is happening," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
The IFJ believes that 20 journalists and media staff from a number of different countries were on board when the attacks took place, according to Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. He said the IFJ is fully investigating the incident and plans to raise the issue at a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council planned for Geneva on Friday.
The IFJ is also writing today to the Israeli government warning them about their responsibility vis-à-vis the security of the journalists on the flotilla and is asking its member union in Israel to take the matter up with the authorities.
"The international community must respond immediately to this outrage," said White. "The rights of journalists in conflict zones have been particularly highlighted by the United Nations and members states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner."
For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 22 07
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