Journalists accuse Israel of “attacks on press freedom”

Pressure group accuses Israel of taking a “deliberate” and “racist attitude to the Arab media.”

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By  Marcus Webb Published  April 22, 2002

The international pressure group for journalists Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) has issued an outspoken statement condemning Israel in the strongest terms for its "grim toll of attacks on press freedom".

In the declaration, RSF accused Israel of taking a "discriminatory, even racist attitude towards the Arab media and Palestinian journalists.”

"The policy of the Israeli authorities towards the international media, especially Palestinian journalists, must be condemned for what it is: a massive, deliberate and conscious violation of press freedom and an unprecedented low in the history of Israel," the organisation said.

The report, published on the Reporters Sans Frontiers web site, claimed that in three weeks of Israeli occupation seven journalists had been wounded, four detained, fifteen arrested, 60 targeted by gunfire and twenty "roughed up or threatened."

"There has been repeated obstruction of working journalists, arbitrary arrests, physical threats and a determination to belittle and humiliate - an aggression that has led to several journalists being wounded by gunfire and one even killed,” said RSF.

"These have not been blunders but a deliberate policy of hiding from the world the truth of the Israeli army's violence and abuses, which must be clearly condemned and met with international sanctions.

“The Israeli army has targeted many privately-owned Palestinian and Arab media. On 8 April, four Israeli soldiers smashed their way into the Ramallah offices of Abu Dhabi TV and Nile TV, ordered journalists to lie on the floor and broke desks, doors and chairs,” it added.

Last week journalists covering the activities of the Israeli army in Jenin protested at their exclusion from certain areas of the West Bank.

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