Journalists stand next to the rubble of Jala Tower, which housed international press offices, following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. Picture: Mohammed Abed/AFP
Journalists stand next to the rubble of Jala Tower, which housed international press offices, following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. Picture: Mohammed Abed/AFP

Independent Media denounces ’deliberate attempt to silence media in Palestine’

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Independent Media has called on other South African media houses to join it in denouncing media oppression and to advocate freedom of the press.

The country’s largest print media house made the call following the bombing of the building housing the Al Jazeera and AP news agency offices in Gaza at the weekend.

This, according to Independent Media, was a deliberate attempt to silence the media covering the events happening in Palestine.

“Independent Media outright denounces this action. Earlier this month, the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day (May 3). Yet, many of our international colleagues were unable to participate, since their ability to report on news or opinion has been severely restricted or denied outright.

“Independent Media also calls on authorities to take the necessary steps to end the systematic targeting of all media,” the group said in a statement.

“Independent Media stands strong in solidarity with all journalists for the right for each reporter to have access to information, convey all sides of a given story, and without the fear of being cast into prison or being killed just for doing their job. We lend our support to every reporter, photographer and camera crew, as well as the men and women on the ground, who are putting their lives on the line to ensure that some form of coverage is conveyed to the rest of the world.”

The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has already noted a drastic increase in the number of violations against media freedoms. According to the Palestine Journalists Syndicate, more than 600 cases of journalist rights violations were recorded in 2020.

Independent Media Executive Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said: “What is happening in Palestine at present is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa. Freedom of expression and opinion and reportage on the situation at hand is under fire. Much like what happened here pre-1994, journalists are being prevented from covering what is happening on the ground and thus from informing not only their own citizens but the world at large. Reporters are being detained, shot, jailed and, in some cases, even tortured.”

“A constraint on information in this digital age is tantamount to plunging the region into the Dark Ages. The media are a vital link for citizens and the world to be informed, as it is only in having knowledge that change is able to occur – everywhere around the world, not just in Palestine,” said Survé.

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