- About INSI
- Safety Resources
- Contact Us
28 Aug 2006
Brussels, August 28 - The International News Safety Institute on Monday urged all sides in Gaza to respect the safety of journalists covering the conflict, and called on the Israeli government to hold an immediate inquiry into the apparent targeting of a clearly marked news vehicle.
An Israeli missile struck an armour-plated Reuters car as Gaza cameraman Fadal Shana hurried to film an Israeli raid on Saturday. Shana and Sabbah Hmaida, a local journalist who was with him, were wounded.
Reuters reported the vehicle was was clearly marked "PRESS" in bright red lettering -- and the missile hit the "P" of the sign on the roof.
The Israeli military said the car had aroused suspicion and that it did not know journalists were inside. An army spokeswoman expressed regret for harming the journalists.
The Foreign Press Association in Israeli condemned "outrageous targeting" and rejected the army's "excuses". Reuters and the FPA demanded a full and transparent investigation.
"It is hard to know what more journalists can do to protect themselves in conflict than to clearly identify themselves. It is hard to believe one of the world's most sophisticated military machines -- one that has frequently pinpointed enemy vehicles for pinpoint missile attack from far away -- could fail to see big, clear PRESS markings on this vehicle," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"For the safety of all journalists covering the conflict in Gaza, the Israeli military must investigate this incident speedily and openly so that lessons can be learned and future incidents avoided. The story of Gaza must continue to be told and the military of a democratic country has a special duty of care to protect the Press, one of the pillars of any free society."
INSI welcomed the safe release on Sunday of two Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza two weeks ago by Palestinian militants.
Correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig had spent 13 days in an abandoned garage as captives of the previously unknown Holy Jihad Brigades.
"All sides -- Israelis and Palestinians -- must respect the rights of journalists to work in Gaza free from fear of harm. Journalists harm no one, and their reporting is vital to world understanding of events there," Pinder said.
"The Geneva conventions protect journalists as civilians in conflict. Combatants, especially those in regular armies, are required not to harm civilians deliberately in any way."
Please contact Rodney Pinder with any questions on this release:
firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. +44 7734 709 267