(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 19 October 2000 CPJ press release:
Both Israelis And Palestinians Impede Press, Says CPJ Special Report
Palestinian Journalists Are Casualties In Battle Over Images
New York, October 19, 2000 - Journalists covering the current clashes in the West Bank and Gaza have been shot or beaten by Israeli forces and have had their film confiscated by Palestinian police. A special report released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists documents how these recent abuses fit into a pattern of press-freedom violations by both Palestinian and Israeli forces over the past several years.
The CPJ report, Bloodied and Beleaguered, documents many cases in which Palestinian journalists have been shot or physically assaulted by Israeli soldiers, police or settlers while covering violent clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Palestinian authorities have consistently harassed journalists and suppressed coverage that is critical of Yasser Arafat's government.
Both Sides Deny Press Freedoms
In the nearly seven years since the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) assumed control over parts of the West Bank and Gaza, Chairman Arafat and his multi-layered security apparatus have muzzled local press critics via arbitrary arrests, threats, physical abuse, and the closure of media outlets.
The 10,000-word report is based on extensive research conducted in July and August by CPJ Middle East program coordinator Joel Campagna. Campagna interviewed numerous Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza, along with Israeli authorities and local human-rights advocates.
The report examines a pattern of abuses that have taken place over the last seven years, but its release coincides with an upsurge in violent attacks against journalists covering the clashes that began in late September. As noted in the introduction, "This report shows how both sides in the conflict have historically used strong-arm tactics to influence the ways in which their actions are represented in the media. The stakes have grown infinitely higher in recent weeks, making it probable that abuses outlined here will increase in the months and years ahead."
The print version of the report will be presented at a symposium at the Freedom Forum in New York City on Friday morning, October 20. A multi-media version of the report will be available on CPJs Web site, www.cpj.org, on Tuesday, October 23. CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world.