UK broadcast journalists demand open access to Gaza

AFP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Feb 2024

More than 50 UK-based broadcast journalists have sent an open letter to the Israeli and Egyptian embassies calling for "free and unfettered access" to Gaza for foreign media, British media reported Wednesday.

Palestinians walk in the Maghazi camp for Palestinian refugees, in the central Gaza Strip on February 27, 2024. AFP


The letter, from 55 correspondents and presenters from the main broadcasting outlets based in the UK, appealed for better protection for journalists already reporting in the territory.

"Almost five months into the war in Gaza, foreign reporters are still being denied access to the territory, outside of the rare and escorted trips with the Israeli military," said the letter, quoted by multiple local media outlets.

"We urge the Governments of Israel and Egypt to allow free and unfettered access to Gaza for all foreign media."

It called on Israel to openly state its permission for international journalists to operate in Gaza and for the Egyptian authorities to allow international journalists access to the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Journalists who signed the letter include Alex Crawford from Sky News, Jeremy Bowen from the BBC and Christiane Amanpour from CNN.

Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor said on Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent programme: “I can only surmise that Israel is not allowing reporters to work freely inside Gaza, because their soldiers are doing things they do not want us to see.”

Although some journalists have been invited to briefly "embed" with the Israel army for escorted tours inside Gaza, they have been prohibited from talking to any of the Palestinians there.

"There is intense global interest in the events in Gaza and for now the only reporting has come from journalists who were already based there," said the letter.

"It's vital that local journalists' safety is respected and that their efforts are bolstered by the journalism of members of the international media.

"The need for comprehensive on the ground reporting of the conflict is imperative."

United Nations reports indicate that at least 122 journalists and other media workers have been killed and many others wounded in the Gaza Strip since war erupted on October 7.

Three journalists have been killed by Israeli shelling on the Lebanese side of their border.

Israel's supreme court on January 9 rejected a request from international media for free access to Gaza.


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