In times of war, the line between winning and losing can come down to the public relations battle as much as the military offensive itself. (CNN 14 January)
The Israeli miitary machine is coming under increased pressure from news organisations to expain its reasons for limiting reporters’ access to Gaza.
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontieres) reports that more than 100 media organisations have signed its petition urging the Israeli government to lift the ban, which has been in place since November.
So far no Australian or New Zealand media organisations have signed the petition. This is very disappointing considering that the list includes news outlets in Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Norway.
Perhaps activists in countries whose media have not yet signed up can put some pressure on local editors.
It’s simple really; there’s only one demand. “Let my people go!”
Surely that’s something the Israelis can sympathise with.
The text of the RSF petition is below. I’ve also included the RSF email address so that any editors who read this can have no excuse for not signing up.
We, the news media of the entire world, join the international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders in urging the Israeli authorities to allow our reporters back into the Gaza Strip.
In view of the scale of the military operations and the repercussion they are having throughout the world, we believe the Israeli government’s decision to exclude the press from the Gaza Strip is untenable and dangerous.
It is incomprehensible that Israel is preventing the press from providing independent coverage of events that concern us all.
There is only one solution to this situation: while taking the necessary security measures, the Israeli authorities must grant immediate access to the Gaza Strip to the media personnel who have been sent to cover this conflict.
You, international medias want to sign the appeal, please contact us at:
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is also campaigning for media access to Gaza and is carrying some interesting reports about the impact of Israeli military censorship. Two Palestinian journalists – who are trapped in Gaze along with everyone else – have been charged with breaching the censorship rules.