The Palestinian Journalists Union issued a statement on the event of May 3, the World Press Freedom Day, and called on the free world and the international community to ensure the freedom of press far away from prosecution and oppression.The Union stated that the world is witnessing a decline in the freedom of expression, and a significant increase of attacks and prosecution against the press and those who are carrying the human mission of informing the people about what is going on around them, and around the globe.
The Union stated that on this event, governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations and all civil society institutions must recognize the important mission and role of the press, must defend the media agencies against the repeated attacks against them, and must commemorate and respect those who have fallen in the line of their human mission.
The Union appealed the whole world to recognize the important role of the media in enhancing democracy and development.
Also, the union slammed the attacks against media agencies and reporters in the Palestinian territories, including violations carried out by official agencies, the Israeli army, and unknown armed groups.
It called for the immediate and safe release of Allen Johnston, the abducted BBC reporter in the Gaza Strip, and stated that this incident shows the increasing level of chaos and insecurity in the Palestinian areas.
The Union also stated that the Israeli restrictions on the press will only motivate the journalists to perform their duties in spite of these restrictions, attacks and arrests carried against them, and in spite of the repeated incidents of being subjected to Israeli military gunfire.
At the end of its statement, the union repeated its appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of Johnston, and demanded the judicial institutions, the government and the president to take more efficient measures in order to ensure the release of Johnston.
The Union also demanded the Palestinian authority to investigate the attacks against the journalists, including attacks that were carried out by official authorities.
Moreover, the Union demanded the international community and human rights organizations to expose the Israeli military attacks against the journalists.
These attacks included barring the journalists from travelling, kidnapping them, killing and injuring some of them, and shelling their vehicles and centers.
The World Press Freedom Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1993.