In 2013 , the UN General Assembly proclaimed November 2nd to be an International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, by virtue of Resolution 68/163.
The aim of this resolution is to confront the culture of impunity for perpetrators of crimes and attacks against journalists, and to empower the victims with justice. In 9 out of 10 cases in which journalists were slain, the perpetrators are not held accountable. Thus, the resolution also aims to provide a safe environment for journalists and enable them to perform their work without interference.
Across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, attacks against journalists and media freedoms, especially those committed by Israel, have escalated with a quickening pace, and have become even more violent and dangerous.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, âMADAâ, documented 474 attacks against media freedoms in Palestine, since the beginning of the year. Of these attacks, Israeli forces committed a total of 372, around 78% of all documented attacks.
Noting that the majority of all documented attacks committed by Israeli forces fell under the categories of “dangerous attacks” and “grave breaches”, the most serious and dangerous of these was the killing of two Palestinian journalists, Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, during the coverage of the Great March of Return, in Gaza, in two separate incidents. Both journalists were clearly identifiable by their press vests and were located hundreds of meters away from the border fence. They posed no imminent threat to occupation forces, but were rather performing their duties, this all in addition to the targeting and injuring scores of Palestinian journalists,Â over the past ten months, with live ammunition and explosive bullets.
According to MADA Center, literally hundreds of other attacks against journalists in Palestine have been carried out, over the past few years. A total of 43 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since the year 2000. MADA has reiterated its commitment to continue working with various partners locally, regionally and internationally, in order to put an end to the culture of impunity enjoyed by Israel, and to realize the objectives that the UN resolution aims at achieving.
Finally, MADA, in collaboration with the Civil Commission for the Independence of Judiciary and Rule of Law (ISTIQLAL), has organized a competition for the best moot court for law students of across Palestinian universities, to defend freedom of expression and to shed light on this culture of impunity. The outcome of the competition will be held on November 8, 2018, in the occupied West Bank. MADA will also organize another event, on the occasion of the international day, in collaboration with the Committee, to support journalists on this occasion in Gaza City, on Saturday, the 3rd of November, 2018.
(edited for the IMEMC by c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g)