The Foreign Press Association strongly supports channel France 24 Arabic-speaking Jerusalem team – correspondent Leila Odeh and her cameraman Nader Baybers – who were harassed Wednesday, November 23, while covering the aftermath of a deadly bomb blast. The two journalists were surrounded by a group of young Israeli extremists who made offensive gestures and were verbally aggressive towards correspondent Leila Odeh, pronouncing insult of “Death to Arabs!”, “we don’t want Arabs, we don’t want terrorists, get out of here”, and all this went on as the correspondent was broadcasting live and on-air.
As an experienced journalist speaking Hebrew, Arabic and English, Leila Odeh asked help and protection from a nearby police officer, however the officer refused and asked France 24’s team to leave the premises. The incident is on video and the FPA calls on the authorities to take appropriate action against the inciters and officers who stood by and prevented journalists to do their job.
There have been other recent cases of reporters who have been harassed and attacked by crowds in Jerusalem, with no interference of nearby police officers. The FPA calls upon the Israeli police and authorities, including the upcoming government, to ensure the safety of journalists and the freedom of press, as might be expected of a democratic state.