Two Fairfax journalists from The Sydney Morning Herald are among the detainees taken into Israeli custody after the bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla yesterday. According to the SMH, the pair are unharmed, but shaken by their experience.
It is understood Geraghty and McGeough are in an Israeli detention facility at Ashdod and were expected to be taken to another detention facility, about 70 kilometres away, in Beersheva. Herald editor Peter Fray said the Israeli government had not confirmed this. “We have had no direct communication with Paul or Kate since 11.53am Sydney time yesterday,” Fray said, adding he was grateful for the consular help provided by Australian and Irish authorities in Israel. “We are obviously very eager to make contact with Paul and Kate, who entered Israel as working journalists to do a legitimate job. “We hope that the authorities respect their right to do that job. And of course the welfare of Paul and Kate is of paramount concern to us at this stage.”
Earlier McGeough, who has more than 25 years experience as a foreign correspondent and was due to Skype with AUT journalism students yesterday, reported live to the Herald website as the Israeli military closed in on the aid convoy.
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Israeli’s media blackout and the detaining of journalists who were put in harms way by the attacks yesterday.
Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the censorship attempts that accompanied today’s deadly assault by Israel on a flotilla that was carrying humanitarian aid, 750 pro-Palestinian activists and several journalists to the Gaza Strip.
“We deplore this assault, which left a heavy toll of dead and wounded,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The journalists who were on the flotilla to cover the humanitarian operation were put in harm’s way by this disproportionate reaction. We urge the Israeli authorities to release the detained journalists and allow them unrestricted access to the Gaza Strip. The international community needs accurate information about this Palestinian Territory.”
However as RSF points out the Israeli military and government has form on this issue and constantly harrasses journalists trying to cover the Gaza story and the occupied territories.