Gaza: In four months of war, Palestinian journalism has been decimated with impunity
The toll of four months of war in Gaza on journalism is nothing short of horrifying: Palestinian journalists killed, wounded, and prevented from working without any possibility of safe refuge. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) strongly condemns the eradication of journalism and the right to information in Gaza by the Israeli army, and calls on States and international organisations to increase pressure on Israel to immediately cease this carnage.
In 124 days of conflict, at least 84 journalists have been killed in Gaza, including at least 20 in the course of their journalistic work or in connection with it, according to RSF’s data. Journalists are being decimated as the days of this interminable war go by, through incessant Israeli strikes from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip. Journalists who have survived these four months are living a daily hell: In inhumane conditions, they suffer shortages of all kinds, particularly of equipment, as well as regular media blackouts.
"In four months of conflict, Palestinian journalism has been decimated by Israeli armed forces with complete impunity, with a staggering death toll of more than 84 journalists killed, at least 20 in the line of duty. After filing two complaints with the International Criminal Court and making repeated appeals to States and international organisations, RSF is once again urging the UN Security Council to immediately enforce Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists.
Journalists trapped in Rafah
Journalists in Gaza have no way out or any place of safe refuge. Forced to flee to the south of the enclave since 7 October, the vast majority have taken refuge in Rafah, where the crossing point with Egypt is still closed and where an invasion of the city could lead to a new bloodbath. Rafah was described by Israel as a "security zone" at the start of the conflict. Despite RSF's calls for the Rafah gate to be opened, the Israeli authorities continue to prevent Gazan journalists from leaving and to block access to the enclave for foreign journalists.
A chilling toll
According to the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS), some 50 local and international media outlets in Gaza have been totally or partially destroyed by the Israeli army since 7 October, in addition to the appalling death toll.
RSF filed two complaints with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 31 October and 22 December 2023 in connection with the killings of journalists and the destruction of media outlets. In the aftermath of the killings of independent videographer Moustafa Thuraya and Al Jazeera journalist Hamza Dahdouh on 7 January, RSF obtained a decision from the ICC prosecutor to include crimes against journalists in its investigation into the situation in Palestine. Two days later, RSF called on the UN Security Council to urgently address Israel's violations of Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists.
The struggle of journalists in the field
Against this terrifying backdrop, Palestinian reporters in Gaza are showing untold courage in continuing to report on the war. Most have lost loved ones. Forced to move, they live in tents, with no electricity and very little food or water. Injured journalists have very limited access to medical care. In partnership with Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), RSF has been providing grants to Gazan journalists since the start of the war to support their reporting work.