IPI completes mission to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Participants to report on current status of conflict reporting
VIENNA, Feb 25, 2013 - A delegation of the International Press Institute has completed a weeklong research mission to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza that focused on the current status of conflict coverage by local media.
The team included: IPI World Press Freedom Hero Daoud Kuttab, who runs Ammannet.net in Jordan; IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser Naomi Hunt; and Norwegian journalist and Project Consultant Kjetil Haanes. The fact-finding trip was made possible with funding from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
Between Feb. 13 and Feb. 19, the delegation interviewed over 50 journalists, media experts and representatives of journalist associations in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Gaza and Tel Aviv. Interviewees were asked how their own media and others covered the Gaza conflict that took place last year, from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21, 2012.
IPI found that both Israeli and Palestinian media displayed some bias and were subjected to restrictions on their ability to report; however, Palestinian journalists were subjected to additional restrictions as a result of the occupation.
Factors that affected coverage included restrictions on freedom of movement and access, interference from officials, direct pressure from the government and members of the public, resource constraints, safety concerns and the strength of the journalism community.
Journalists on both sides characterized reporting as being mostly factually accurate, although they noted that the number of human interest stories on each side and the amount of space given to official voices from the other side reflected a sense of patriotism.
A full report on the mission will be issued in the coming weeks. It will assess the current status of conflict coverage, explore factors that influence this coverage, and make recommendations as to how to strengthen journalist rights and reporting.
Three journalists were killed during last year's conflict in Gaza. Camera operator Mahmoud al-Koumi and logistics assistant Husam Salameh, from Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV, were killed when a missile struck their car. Mohammed Abu Eisha of Al Quds Educational Radio was killed in his car in a separate attack later on, news reports said. Both vehicles were reportedly marked as 'Press'.
Two buildings housing a number of local and international media were targeted in air strikes, resulting in the injury of several journalists including Khader al-Zahhar, a reporter for Al Quds TV who lost his leg in the attack.