Journalists in Gaza are facing great danger as they try to cover the conflict in the face of an Israeli ground assault on Gaza City, devastating airstrikes, disrupted communications, and extensive power outages.
According to the independent Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the past month has been the deadliest on record for journalists and media workers since it began gathering data in 1992.
As of 7 November 2023, 39 journalists and media workers were confirmed dead: 34 Palestinian, 4 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese.
8 journalists were reported injured; 3 journalists were reported missing; 9 journalists were reported arrested.
Killed, missing, detained, hurt, threatened
On Tuesday, news emerged of a Palestinian reporter who was killed alongside 42 family members. The Wafa news agency he worked for said Mohammad Abu Hasira was killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City.
The dead journalists and media workers are among the estimated 11,000 people killed in Gaza and the West Bank since the Hamas attacks on October 7.
CPJ said it is also investigating numerous unconfirmed reports of other journalists being killed, missing, detained, hurt, or threatened, and of damage to media offices and journalists’ homes.
On October 27 Reuters reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told the news agency and Agence France Press it could not guarantee the safety of their journalists operating in the Gaza Strip, after they had sought assurances that their journalists would not be targeted by Israeli strikes.
Civilians doing important work
In a statement CPJ emphasized that “journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties.”
It noted that media workers across the region are making great sacrifices to cover the conflict, and that “those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families, and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety when there is no safe haven or exit.”
CPJ’s website is constantly updated and publishes a list of names of killed, injured or missing journalists.
Telling the story
Meanwhile in the pursuit of truth and the need to tell the world what is happening in blockaded Gaza, ordinary citizens turn to social media platforms like Tik Tok, where a teenage boy gives his lively report of the day.
He calls himself “son of Shireen abu Akleh”, the Palestinian-American journalist who was killed by an Israeli soldier while wearing a blue press vest as she covered a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in May last year. As he addresses his audience, bombing can be heard in the background and Israeli missiles can be seen whizzing by in the sky over his head.
By Linda Bordoni | Vaticannews