(IPI/IFEX) - In a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, IPI strongly condemned the Israeli government's decision to stop issuing permits for Palestinian journalists to enter Israeli areas or leave the Palestinian areas.
According to IPI sources, on 1 November 2000 the Israeli Defence Ministry issued a proclamation on Defence Force Radio that Palestinian journalists would no longer be given permits to move freely, because Israel claims that they "only" report the views of the Palestinian National Authority. Journalists of other nationalities would still be able to move freely, the proclamation stated.
In the past, IPI has noticed a disturbing pattern of discrimination and harassment against Palestinian journalists by the Israeli armed forces. Because of their knowledge of the language, terrain, etc., Palestinian journalists have often provided the world with invaluable reporting about events taking place in the region. This latest violation of press freedom appears to be part of a concerted effort to control what is being reported.
Send appeals to the prime minister:
- stating that these crude restrictions on journalists and media outlets are gross violations of everyone's right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" as guaranteed by Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- noting that discrimination against journalists based on nothing but nationality is a serious infringement of basic human rights
- calling upon him to ensure that these restrictions against Palestinian journalists are reversed immediately and unconditionally
- urging him to ensure that both local and foreign journalists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are allowed to carry out their profession safely and without further harassment
His Excellency Ehud Barak
Fax: +972 2 513950
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.