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IFJ Defending Journalists in Palestine and Israel

February 13, 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has reaffirmed its commitment to defend the interests of journalists in Palestine and Israel in response to concerns expressed by its affiliate the National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ) that recent actions in carrying out a mission to Gaza and IFJ statements over the crisis have not adequately taken account of the views of journalists in Israel.

The IFJ says that the emergency mission to Gaza was primarily focused on the conditions and circumstances of Palestinian journalists and media and was not designed or intended to examine the situation in Israeli journalism.

The IFJ recognises that Israeli journalists have sought to report the crisis fairly under difficult conditions - they, too, were victims of the media blockade imposed by Israel which restricted foreign media access to Gaza during the conflict. The actions of the Jerusalem-based Foreign Press Association which successfully challenged this blockade in the Israeli courts were also supported by many journalists in Israel.

The IFJ, says General Secretary Aidan White, "Staunchly defends the role of its affiliate in Israel as an independent voice of professional journalists in Israeli society and has publicly and robustly repudiated attempt in some quarters to link the NFIJ with the actions of the Israeli government."

The IFJ remains committed to building working links between journalists in Israel and Palestine in defence of free and independent journalism and will continue to oppose and condemn military strikes against unarmed media installations, regardless of who carries them out. It will challenge all groups, whether in Gaza and the West Bank and in Israel itself, when they intimidate or threaten journalists.

The IFJ pledges to continue to speak out for respect for international law, to defend the right of journalist to work freely and try to build structures for dialogue to ensure that all opinions are heard. It will continue to work with journalists in Israel and Palestine in this endeavour.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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