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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

Editorial: On supporting Palestinian journalism in Gaza

As Israel’s actions continue to decimate Gaza and its journalists, look to Palestinians for accurate, on-the-ground reporting.

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Editorials represent the position of the Editorial Board, which operates independently of the Daily’s newsroom.

Journalists play a crucial role in documenting humanitarian catastrophes by holding truth to power and telling stories when there is no one else to tell them. For over six months, while facing unimaginable challenges, Palestinian journalists in Gaza have been telling the world the truth about Israel’s actions in Gaza — actions which, as described by U.N. experts, constitute genocide. We, the Daily’s Editorial Board, encourage following and listening to Palestinian journalists in order to have an informed view of the situation in Gaza.

U.S. mass media has covered the genocide dishonestly, using biased phrasing to subtly legitimize Israel’s actions. Israel bans international journalists from reporting in Gaza except for a select few under military escort. This one-sided journalistic practice amplifies the narrative of the Israel Defense Forces. However, Palestinian journalists in Gaza have been independently reporting on life in Gaza and its loss. Many Palestinian journalists have seen their families slaughtered and face death themselves yet have continued to show the world the truth of what is happening in Gaza. Their bravery and commitment to honest journalism should stand as a testament to what the profession as a whole should strive to be. These journalists are providing perspectives that are otherwise unavailable, so listening to these journalists is crucial to having an informed opinion on the events in Palestine. In particular, Hind Khoudary and Bisan Owda’s coverage of the genocide has been impactful and unwavering.

These journalists face monumental challenges, as Israel’s bombing of Gaza has demonstrably targeted Palestinian journalists. Shuruq As’ad, a member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, told The Nation, “I don’t think the targeting is happening just because they want to block our images and words, even though, of course, that is part of it. … Their goal is to make civil society impossible in Palestine, and journalism is a big part of that.” Israeli actions have killed at least 137 journalists in Gaza since Oct. 7. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, “more journalists have been killed in the first 10 weeks of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year.”

One such journalist killed in Gaza was Samer Abu Daqqa. Abu Daqqa, a journalist for Al Jazeera, was reporting at a school when an Israeli strike badly injured him. Israeli officials prevented an ambulance from reaching Abu Daqqa for five hours while he bled out and died. Abu Daqqa’s death is not an aberration. Although Israeli violence against journalists has certainly intensified since Oct. 7, it is nothing new. Since 2000, Israel has bombed media towers in Gaza and murdered dozens of Palestinian journalists, such as renowned Al Jazeera reporter  Shireen Abu Akleh. Abu Akleh was shot in May 2022 by Israeli forces, who subsequently lied about Abu Akleh’s death and attacked her funeral procession.

Israeli violence against journalists, be it before or after Oct. 7, is entirely unacceptable. When journalists anywhere are targeted, the existence of journalism itself is threatened, and the work of Palestinian journalists right now is incomprehensibly brave and incredibly important. In the words of the late Shireen Abu Akleh, “I chose journalism to be close to the people. It might not be easy to change the reality, but at least I could bring their voice to the world.”