The world is waiting in cautious anticipation amid the four-day pause in hostilities in Gaza, giving Palestinians a brief respite from the incessant Israeli airstrikes. Israel did not cease its bombing of the enclave from October 7, when it declared war on Hamas following the surprise Al-Aqsa Flood Operation launched by Palestinian resistance groups, to the start of the pause on November 24. In these nearly seven weeks, over 15,000 Palestinians were killed and 33,000 have been injured. The number of missing is around 6,800, many of whom are presumed dead or still trapped under the rubble.
The brutal genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continues unabated after 5 weeks. The majority of the enclave’s hospitals have been rendered inoperational through targeted airstrikes on medical infrastructure or because fuel and power supplies have run out, putting at risk the tens of thousands who have been injured in the last month, the hundreds of thousands seeking shelter in medical installations, and healthcare workers. It is in this context, that the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) has called on “the free people of the world” to join its “Global Conscience Convoy” aiming to apply pressure to open the Rafah Crossing – the Gaza Strip’s lifeline – to allow all forms of humanitarian aid, such as (food, water, medication, and fuel) to enter sustainably, and for an unconditional exit for the critically wounded.
A prosecutor in Alabama had a publisher and reporter arrested on October 27 for publishing “grand jury evidence.” The arrests were roundly condemned by press freedom organizations in the United States. “Arresting journalists for reporting the news is blatantly unconstitutional,” declared Seth Stern, who is the advocacy director for the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF). “Grand jury secrecy rules bind grand jurors and witnesses, not journalists.” Stern added, “The district attorney should blame himself for failing to maintain the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, not jail journalists for doing their jobs.”
Every few hours we check the social media timeline of Muhammed Smiry, the Gaza-based Palestinian journalist. He has been walking the ruined streets of Gaza, documenting everyday life amidst Israeli bombs and the impact they have had on Palestinian life. Close to seven thousand Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli barrage, and any one of them could have been Muhammed. “I am still alive,” he wrote on October 10. A few days later, Muhammed wrote, “I am still alive. I can’t tell you how bad the situation is in Gaza.” On Telegram, Muhammed wrote, “Nowhere is safe in Gaza.” His Telegram timeline is horrifying – so many killed here, so many killed there. It is unrelenting.
Gaza’s population of over 2 million, which continues to be carpet bombed, is still being denied fuel, clean water, and adequate food supply by Israel’s ongoing siege on the enclave. The situation is “horrific” as millions are being “collectively punished in full view of the world,” says Oxfam, a British charity focused on alleviating global poverty. “It’s estimated that only three liters of clean water are now available per person. The UN said a minimum of 15 liters a day is essential for people in the most acute humanitarian emergencies as a bare minimum,” they stated.
The New York Times, CNN, and many other national outlets reported on NewsNation journalist Evan Lambert’s arrest at a news conference in Ohio earlier this year. Same when Phoenix police detained Wall Street Journal reporter Dion Rabouin outside a bank. We’re glad those arrests made headlines — if anything, they should have gotten more coverage. The publicity prompted Phoenix’s mayor to apologize to Rabouin for his detainment and Ohio’s governor to denounce Lambert’s arrest while authorities dropped the charges. Without the backlash, who knows — his case might have proceeded to trial.
As a freelance journalist many years ago, I was walking the streets of Brooklyn, looking for a juicy story, anything that I could get into print. I was coming up empty. So I did what anyone would do in that situation. I had lunch. Halfway through my Jamaican jerk chicken, I heard several gunshots, and in a flash, a man ran by the restaurant. I threw my money on the table and headed to the scene. When I got there a bystander pointed me toward the spent shells. I looked around and talked to witnesses. As one young man pontificated to me about poverty and unemployment leading to crime, I noticed that the cops weren’t there yet. But a photographer from the Daily News was.
When police applied for a warrant to raid the Marion County Record, they didn’t bother mentioning the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 — a federal law that largely bans newsroom seizures. They claimed afterwards that they knew about the PPA but didn’t think it applied (we have our doubts). And the judge who issued the warrant was apparently clueless about the law. Authorities in Marion are far from the only ones to ignore the PPA. We noted earlier this year that police in Asheville, North Carolina, neglected to mention it when they applied for a warrant to search a journalist’s phone. And federal prosecutors are struggling to explain how the FBI raid of journalist Tim Burke’s Florida home could have complied with the PPA.
London - The persecution of Julian Assange, along with the climate of fear, wholesale government surveillance and use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, has emasculated investigative journalism. The press has not only failed to mount a sustained campaign to support Julian, whose extradition appears imminent, but no longer attempts to shine a light into the inner workings of power. This failure is not only inexcusable, but ominous. The U.S. government, especially the military and agencies such as the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and Homeland Security, have no intention of stopping with Julian, who faces 170 years in prison if found guilty of violating 17 counts of the Espionage Act.
A briefing from the Prison Policy Initiative documents many of the restrictions that prisons in the United States impose to prevent journalism from incarcerated individuals. Fourteen states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Virginia—have a “total ban on business and compensation.” That means they do not allow incarcerated journalists or writers to receive payment for their work. The United States government’s Federal Bureau of Prisons has what is described as an “explicit ban on journalism.”
The Peruvian people have been on the streets across the country to reject the coup that took constitutional president Pedro Castillo out of office on December 7. The Peruvian authorities have responded to these mass protests with brutal violence. As of today, Peruvian human rights organizations estimate that 48 people have been killed in the context of the protests and hundreds more have been injured. Mainstream, corporate media in Peru has helped reinforce the government’s narrative that those who are on the streets are “criminals”, “terrorists” and that their demands are illegitimate. Meanwhile, independent and alternative media outlets and journalists in the country who have been covering the protests, have faced threats, campaigns of slander and stigmatization, and physical attacks.
On Sunday, November 13, dozens of journalists and communicators will mobilize in the center of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The press professionals will march to the Delmas 33 police station where the journalist Romelson Vilsaint of Radio Télé Zenith was executed on October 30 by the Haitian National Police when he denounced the arbitrary detention of journalist Dimanche Robeste and four others. In recent months, in the midst of strong protests and mobilizations of the Haitian people against the economic crisis, the de facto government of Ariel Henry, and the threat of foreign intervention, the attacks against journalists and social leaders by the police and paramilitary groups have increased. So far in 2022, according to data from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), eight journalists have been murdered in the Caribbean country.
The disappearances of indigenous rights advocate Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips echo like a tragic cry for help from the Amazon rain forest and its original inhabitants. Today, everyone knows that there, in that pile of leaves that you can see on Google Maps, where the Vale do Javari Indigenous Reserve is located (the second largest in Brazil), two heroes gave up their individual lives to defend the collective lives which are destroyed daily by mining, gold, agribusiness, drug trafficking, predatory fishing and even by religious missionaries – unscrupulous defenders of a god of death. Bruno Pereira was not supposed to be there. He had already been depicted by genocide agents on t-shirts designed with 3 targets: one in the front, one in the back and a third stamped on his forehead. He was marked for death.
Friends of the Earth International expresses its concern, indignation and condemnation at the disappearance of Brazilian indigenist activist Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips, a British journalist and contributor to The Guardian newspaper. The two men disappeared on the morning of June 5 in the indigenous territory Vale do Javari, in Brazil’s Amazonas state. The defenders were last seen as they made their way from the community of Ribeirinha São Rafael to the town of Atalaia do Norte (where they were expected). Both men were working on a project with the Indigenous group Unión de Organizaciones Indígenas de Vale do Javari (UNIVAJA). The Vale do Javari Indigenous Reserve was recognised and demarcated in 2001 and is inhabited by 26 Indigenous Peoples, among them peoples who live in voluntary isolation and others with recent initial contact.
On 11 May 2022, an Israeli sniper fired at the head of the veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh as she reported on an Israeli military raid on a refugee settlement in Jenin (part of the Occupied Palestine Territories). The snipers continued to fire at the journalists who were with her, preventing them from aiding her. When she finally arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital, she was pronounced dead. After Abu Aqleh’s death, the Israeli military raided her home in occupied East Jerusalem, where they confiscated Palestinian flags and attempted to prevent mourners from playing Palestinian songs. At her funeral on 13 May, the Israel Defense Forces attacked the massive turnout of family and supporters – including her pallbearers – and grabbed Palestinian flags held by the crowd.