PEN Canada: Journalists covering Hamas-Israel conflict must be protected

PEN Canada is deeply concerned by reports of journalists killed, injured and missing in the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel and on the border with Lebanon

Journalists who report from the  front lines of military conflict carry out extremely dangerous but necessary work.  PEN Canada is deeply disturbed by recent reports of journalists killed, wounded and missing while covering the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

On October 13, Reuters announced that their videographer, Issam Abdallah had been killed while reporting in southern border area of Lebanon, and that two more of its journalists were wounded in shelling which appeared to come from Israel. Two Al-Jazeera employees were also wounded in the attack. In all, six other journalists were wounded. The UN has called for an investigation as has the Israeli ambassador to the UN.  PEN Canada deplores the attack and calls for a thorough public investigation

On October 16, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that at least 15 journalists had been killed in the first nine days of the conflict, with three missing or detained, and eight injured.  More than 4,000 people have lost their lives on both sides and many thousands have been injured.  The conditions for reporters in Gaza, with constant airstrikes, and under a full Israeli siege, including the cutting off of electricity, food and water, has made their critical work near impossible and put their lives at serious risk.

Under international law, journalists and media workers operating in areas of armed conflict are protected by international humanitarian law, and must be treated as civilians and allowed to perform their work without undue interference.

PEN Canada calls for immediate measures by all parties to stop this deadly violence.

PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization that celebrates literature, defends freedom of expression, and assists writers in peril at home and abroad. The English-language Canadian centre was founded in 1983 and is proud to be one of over 100 chapters of PEN International.