Palestinian journalists awarded World Press Freedom Prize

FILE - A relative mourns Palestinian journalist Akram Al-Shafi'i, killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Jan. 6, 2024.
FILE - A relative mourns Palestinian journalist Akram Al-Shafi'i, killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Jan. 6, 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File
Copyright AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File
By Daniel Bellamy
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An international jury of media professionals singled out the journalists in Gaza who have documented Israel’s relentless bombardment of their homeland.


Never before in recent history have so many journalists and media workers been killed so rapidly as in the past year, mostly in Gaza.

More than 140 were killed in just a few months as they tried to report on the war, according to Gaza's media office. Both the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists put that figure at more than 100.

On Thursday at a ceremony in Chile's capital Santiago, Nasser Abu Baker, President of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and Vice-President of the International Federation of Journalists, received the UNESCO prize on behalf of his colleagues in Gaza.

It came on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, observed on May 3rd.

A warning also came from UN chief Antonio Guterres who said that the media workers have come under attack in every part of the world in the last year.

"The United Nations recognises the invaluable work of journalists and media professionals to ensure that the public is informed and engaged. Without facts, we cannot fight mis- and disinformation. Without accountability, we will not have strong policies in place. Without press freedom, we won't have any freedom. A free press is not a choice, but a necessity," he said.

Press freedom is being put to the test, says RSF

And to mark World Press Freedom Day, the pressure group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published a global index detailing the working conditions for journalists in 180 countries.

Within the European Union, the "Freedom of the Press Worldwide" report labelled conditions for journalists as "problematic" in Greece, as well as in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine and Poland.

In Serbia and Albania, conditions are rated as "difficult". The situation is even more severe in Russia, Belarus and Turkey, categorised as "very serious".

According to the report, in Russia "more than 1,500 journalists have fled abroad since the invasion of Ukraine."

It also warns that "press freedom is being put to the test" by the ruling parties in Hungary (67th), Malta (73rd) and Greece (88th), the EU’s three worst-ranked countries. Italy (46th), ruled by the government of Giorgia Meloni, has also fallen five places.

But there have been some improvements in Europe. 

"The political environment for journalism has improved in Poland and Bulgaria ... thanks to new governments with more concern for the right to information," the report said.

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