BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A number of Palestinian journalists were injured on Saturday when Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful march organised by journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades into the crowd of journalists marching in Bethlehem.Among the injured were the head of the Union of Palestinian Journalists Abd al-Nasser al-Najjar, member of the union’s general committee Muhammad al-Laham, and Reuters photographer Muhammad Abu Ghaniyyeh.
Al-Najjar said that the march was carried out to express “our refusal to systematic Israeli suppression policies against journalists even as they express their right of coverage and freedom of expression.”The march headed to the northern entrance of Bethlehem city and faced Israeli soldiers at the “300” checkpoint.Protesters held signs condemning Israeli attacks and violations against journalists in the field.
As of April, 20 Palestinian journalists were being held in Israeli prisons, including six detained in 2015 alone.Furthermore, last year was the deadliest ever for journalists working in the occupied Palestinian Territories, according to the Gaza Center for Press Freedom.Seventeen journalists killed during the 50-day Israeli offensive on Gaza last summer, including an Italian photographer working for Associated Press.
The center said Israel had committed 295 separate “violations of press freedom” across the occupied Palestinian Territories.Israel arrested or detained an unspecified number of journalists, denied freedom of movement to local media workers wanting to leave the blockaded Gaza Strip, and partially or completely destroyed 19 buildings housing editorial operations during its bombardment of the territory during the conflict.Palestinian authorities also committed 82 violations of press freedom, the center said, including arresting or summoning 28 journalists, and injuring or assaulting 26 more.