According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 85 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 2023. Based on their data, more journalists have been killed in ten weeks in the recent war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year. Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in a statement, said, “Journalism is in the process of being eradicated in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s refusal to heed calls to protect media personnel.”
Responding to a letter by media organisations, Reuters and AFP, the Israeli Defence Forces said, “Under these circumstances, we cannot guarantee your employees’ safety, and strongly urge you to take all necessary measures for their safety.”
Journalism is not a mere profession but an act of resistance for the Palestinian journalists who are jeopardising their safety to show the truth amidst the constant bombardment when the world leaders have failed to respond to continuous calls for a ceasefire. The commitment of these journalists, despite constant attacks on freedom of the press, is symbolic of denial of oppression. On one hand, they face the risk of getting hit by an airstrike, while on the other side, they’re constantly facing deterioration of mental well-being.
Nine-year-old Lama Jamous (@lama_jamous9) has gained over 685,000 followers on Instagram for her fearless citizen journalism in Gaza. In an interview with her, Lama said, “ I am from Khan Younis. I was displaced from place to place, and every time I was displaced somewhere, the bombing became heavier and more frequent. It is loud, and it scares us and scares all the children. Young children are seeing the destruction, martyrs, and the injured. We hope that everyone helps us stop the war on us. When we sleep at night, we can hear the bombings; we can feel the shockwaves while we are sleeping. We want the war to stop so we can go back to our homes and be safe.”
Another Palestinian journalist, Hashem Zimmo, reported that the conflict affects everyone in Gaza, including journalists. “This is the strongest and fiercest war ever on the Gaza Strip, with 80% of Gaza being inhabitable after the IDF started launching their attacks. This war affects work pressure… There was great psychological pressure with my brother, cousin, and my aunt’s daughter killed in the war. May god save a lot of our family in Gaza in the light of the fierce war. In this war, I was injured in my foot, but I don’t mention it.”
Despite being the heroes reporting directly from the frontline, Palestinian journalists do not have the recognition they deserve for their work, nor the life-saving safeguarding needed so that they may continue reporting on the war. Their deaths have turned into mere statistics. The constant denial of internet access poses a significant threat to their safety.
As a budding journalist, I highly respect and admire Palestinian journalists challenging the status quo with their commitment to telling the truth. It is also heartbreaking to witness the lack of solidarity from global news organisations with their journalist comrades in Gaza, for fear of starting a media war or losing their funding.
Lucy Spencer rightfully noted in the previous edition of The Badger, “Perhaps the Western guilt for allowing the Holocaust in Europe has caused the media to tread carefully.” In any condition, the world must talk about the journalist heroes who are showing the heartbreaking realities of Gaza amidst the dehumanisation of their struggle.
“Do you have a message for the world?” I asked Hashem, to which he responded, “To stand with the Palestinian people, hand in hand. We do not want them to be left watching this destruction.”