World Press Freedom Day: Gaza conflict claims lives of journalists | Press Freedom Updates

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Every year on May 3, UNESCO observes World Press Freedom Day. This year, it is being marked during a dangerous time for journalists globally, particularly in the midst of Israel’s war on Gaza, which has proven to be the deadliest conflict for journalists and media workers.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, stated, “When we lose a journalist, we lose our eyes and ears to the outside world. We lose a voice for the voiceless.” World Press Freedom Day was established to celebrate the value of truth and to protect those who courageously work to uncover it.

In the first seven months of the war in Gaza, more than 100 journalists and media workers, mostly Palestinian, have been killed. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report the number at over 100, while Gaza’s media office has a higher count of over 140 deaths.

Since the conflict began, at least 34,596 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured. Jonathan Dagher, Head of RSF’s Middle East desk, emphasized the importance of protecting Gaza’s reporters and allowing international media access to the region.

Al Jazeera journalists have also been directly affected, with reporter Shireen Abu Akleh being killed in the occupied West Bank in 2022. Overall, in 2024, 25 journalists and media workers have been killed worldwide, with the majority of deaths occurring in Palestine.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran as having the worst press freedom. Additionally, as of December 2023, 320 journalists and media workers were imprisoned, with China, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia, and Vietnam having the highest number of imprisoned journalists.

Overall, World Press Freedom Day serves as a reminder of the crucial role journalists play in society and the importance of protecting press freedom around the world.

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