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FPA Statements 2006

December 17, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA strongly protests the arrest at gunpoint of a France 2 cameraman in Gaza this morning. The Hamas security detail seized both the camera and cassette and the cameraman was taken to the Ministry of Internal security. The cameraman was later released and his camera returned but the cassette was confiscated. The FPA finds this behaviour totally unacceptable in terms of both censorship and harassment of an accredited journalist. 

October 24, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA protests the kidnapp[ing of AP photographer Emilio Morenatti. 

We urge all parties with influence to work ceaselessly towards the immediate release of our friend and colleague. 

Mr Morenatti is a journalist with experience and unquestioned professionalism. There can be no justification whatsoever for kidnapping journalists working to cover events inside Gaza, or anywhere else in the Palestinian territories. 

All members of the FPA call for his immediate release and demand that journalists be allowed to continue their important work without the fear and risk of a repeat of this kind of incident. 

October 12, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA calls on the relevant Israeli authorities to release the detained journalist Emad Bornat and to pursue full and proper investigations into both cases – also that of AFP photographer Jaafer Ashtiyeh – in order to reassure our members and their organisations of Israel’s continuing commitment to the unhindred operation of a free press both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories.  

September 26, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to strongly object to a recent press report based on a leaked letter written by the current Director of the Government Press Office, Mr Danny Seaman. 

In the letter Mr Seaman makes broad and unsupported claims about what he calls the foreign media’s misuse of imported armoured cars. 

The FPA feels sure that members with armoured vehicles use them exclusively to provide for the safety of their colleagues in hazardous environments. The FPA is not aware of any incidents in which such vehicles have fallen into the wrong hands or been used to facilitate acts of violence. 

The FPA is willing at any time to work towards a better system of administering the use of these vital vehicles, but is sure that the relevant authorities will also understand our professional and moral obligation to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues. 

August 27, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA protests the outrageous targeting of a vehicle belonging to the Reuters News Agency in Gaza yesterday.  

The FPA rejects the excuses offered so far by the IDF. The assertion that the vehicle was acting suspiciously near Israeli forces is wholly unacceptable and we demand further details to support this allegation. 

The IDF also claims the vehicle was not identified as a vehicle belonging to the press. This is simply not true. The Reuters armoured vehicle is clearly marked. 

This vehicle and Reuters journalists have been covering IDF operations inside Gaza for years. So far the IDF has always been able to identify journalists working on the ground. Why not yesterday ? Moreover this vehicle is clearly known to the authorities having been authorised to operate to inside Gaza in close coordination and facilitation of the Israeli authorities themselves. 

The FPA strongly urges a full and transparent investigation into this terrible incident. We are always willing to cooperate with the IDF to ensure the better protection of journalists in the field. But we demand a clear commitment that the IDF looks into yesterday’s events and makes a credible report available to us. 

Until such time as it does there is a serious risk that relations between the FPA and the IDF will be significantly damaged. 

August 14, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to condemn this evening’s kidnapping of two Fox News journalists in Gaza. 

We demand their immediate release and urge all parties in Gaza to do everything possible to ensure their safe return. 

Journalists working in the Palestinian Territories should be allowed to pursue their professional duties without interference of this kind. 

July 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to register its dissatisfaction with IDF pooling arrangements for the coverage of operations in South Lebanon and northern Israel. 

As previously the FPA has been willing to cooperate with the IDF in coordinating pool opportunities for coverage. This is of clear mutual interest. 

In this case the FPA drew up lists of members in a rotation who wished to participate. This system was clearly communicated to the IDF spokespersons. 

While we understand the operational limitations and obvious dangers, the FPA has been disappointed with the number of pools offered and the manner in which they have been organized. So far, there has been only one print pool, and one stills pool since the conflict began. The pools have been offered at very short notice. Coordination has been extremely poor. There have been numerous late cancellations and much confusion. 

At the same time, it appears that more facilities have been offered to unilateral journalists, working outside the FPA/IDF pooling arrangement. This has caused a lot of concern and suspicion that the IDF has not been acting in good faith.

July 17, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association hereby wishes to protest against the repeated arrest of veteran FPA member Walid al Omary, Bureau chief of Al-Jazeera, which we understand to be over supposed violations of military censorship. 

Al-Jazeera does not appear to have broadcast information significantly different from that carried by Israeli media. Mr. Omary is well aware of the censorship restrictions imposed in Israel, particularly at a time such as this. 

We hereby ask that the police and other security agencies treat all correspondents alike, whether foreign or Israeli. All the Al Jazeera broadcasts, as well as other public broadcasts can be freely monitored and if the authorities have any suspicion of the law being broken, it can be checked without the repeated harassment of a correspondent. 

June 26, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to protest the latest restriction on access to Gaza for foreign journalists holding dual nationality. 

We appreciate the heightened security concerns but insist that those journalists with dual nationality still be allowed to cover events in Gaza. 

Our members in this category are fully aware of the risks involved in covering Gaza and as journalists do not expect special treatment from the Israeli Government or security services. 

We therefore believe this additional restriction to be unwarranted and urge its immediate lifting. It is denying a significant core group of our members from carrying out its professional duties. 

June 25, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association strongly urges the Israeli authorities to reopen the Erez crossing into Gaza with immediate effect. 

We understand that there may have been a need for extra security checks after the incident at Kerem Shalom. However, the Israeli authorities have a responsibility to ensure that bona fide members of the international media have access to Gaza to cover the current important developments. 

Failure to provide such access amounts to a serious infringement of our members’ ability to do their work. 

May 24, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association


The FPA wishes to protest against the continued harassment of its members working in the Palestinian Territories. 

There have been a number of serious incidents of intimidation and harassment in recent days, most notably the attack on Al Jazeera’s office in Ramallah with the subsequent torching of a number of their vehicles. 

The FPA urges all parties to refrain from attempts to intimidate and interfere with members of the professional working press. Journalists and members of the Foreign Press Association should never be considered legitimate targets in ongoing conflicts of the Palestinian political sphere. 

Our members’ efforts to report unfolding events and issues accurately should never be subjected to politically motivated pressures. The free press should be exactly that, and not open to intimidation and coercion. 

May 20, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA protests at the harrassment of colleagues and fellow members in Gaza City today.  

At the scene of todays bomb attack against a senior member of the Palestinian security services, several journalists were forced to hand over tapes and some had equipment confiscated. We protest against this blatent harrassment in the strongest terms.  

The FPA urges all Palestinian factions to respect the safety and working of all journalists in Gaza, whatever the circumstances. 

We also urge our members to exercise renewed caution in the pursuit of their professional duties in these difficult days. 

May 13, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association wishes to protest against the unacceptable treatment of Swiss journalist Karin Wenger at the Erez Crossing on 12th May. 

On her way back into Israel she was subjected to a humiliating and unecessary delay at the newly installed X-ray machines at Erez. 

Wenger was forced to remove her trousers and was forced to enter the X-ray machine in this state, six times under the gaze of a male IDF soldier. 

The FPA was under the impression that this new machinery was state of the art and has received assurances to this end. Why was it necessary for Wenger to remove her trousers in order that the security inspection to be conducted? We find it difficult to understand the justification for this humiliating episode. 

The FPA and its members are well aware of the need for stringent security at Erez, but fail to see the need for this kind of treatment of a respected journalist who holds a GPO card. 

This is a profoundly troubling incident and the FPA is demanding a full and complete explanation. In previous meetings we have been assured this technology would speed our progress through the checkpoint not add to the delays and ill treatment. 

We will be pursuing this through the various channels available to us until we receive a satisfactory response and in the meantime recommend to members that they think twice before complying with unecessary requests to undress at Erez.

April 25, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association


Following yesterday’s FPA letter of complaint over IDF activity in Nablus, additional information provided by Reuters concerning the incident on 20th April has come to light. 

Accordingly the FPA also wishes to amend its own complaint in recognition of the new information. 

vidence supporting the accusation of the direct targeting of the journalist has been called into serious question. The FPA therefore wishes to rescind that part of its complaint. 

The FPA continues to view the incident with grave concern and renews its long standing call for the IDF to respect the safety and wellbeing of journalists working in areas in which it is operating. 

The Foreign Press Association

The FPA would like to protest, in the strongest possible terms, the reckless disregard recently displayed by IDF soldiers towards colleagues working in Nablus. . 

On two separate and recent occasions, journalists working for the Reuters agency appear to have been specifically targeted by IDF soldiers operating in Nablus. 

On April 17th at 11am in the morning a Reuters TV crew and stills photographer came under sustained IDF fire despite wearing clear PRESS markings on their clothing. During the same incident a vehicle belonging to The Associated Press was hit by IDF fire. Thankfully no injuries were sustained. 

On April 22nd a Reuters journalist working in Nablus was struck by two rubber bullets fired by IDF troops operating in the city. As before the journalist was wearing PRESS markings which clearly identified him as a journalist. Luckily he sustained no serious injuries. 

As with most of our members, the journalists in question are experienced professionals, not unused to covering the frequent IDF operations in urban environments. They know well how to protect and identify themselves as journalists. As such they have a responsibility to cover events, and of course, do nothing to pose a threat to others. It is reasonable therefore, to demand that the IDF takes the necessary precautions to protect their safety. The FPA fears that in these cases, no such precautions were taken. 

The FPA urges the IDF to be aware of, and respect the legitimate needs of professional journalists working in the field. 

The FPA is in wholehearted support of formal complaints already lodged by the Reuters News Agency, and looks forward to a prompt response from the IDF, once its promised investigation has been completed. 

March 26, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The board of the FPA sends an urgent warning to members over using images of an event in Haifa on Sunday at which Israeli soldiers appeared to be voting. 

This event was set up solely for the media by the IDF, which did not inform journalists that this was a dummy ballot in which the votes cast were fake. 

The FPA protests very strongly to the Spokesperson’s Office of the IDF for bringing journalists to this staged event under the pretence that it was genuine and for tempting to pass off fake voting as the real thing. 

The bogus nature of the voting was only acknowledged by the IDF after it was pointed out by photographers. 

ur members are committed to covering the news truthfully and not fabrications staged for the cameras. 

We request that the IDF never attempt to pass off such a sham in future and that it makes journalists clearly aware if it is setting up an event for the media. 

We also request that the IDF immediately make available genuine voting by soldiers so that we can cover it.

March 15, 2006
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to protest today’s closure of the Erez checkpoint to media personnel wishing to enter Gaza.

All FPA members are aware of the current difficulties working in Gaza following recent events in Jericho and elsewhere. But the FPA feels that access to the Gaza Strip must not be curtailed by the IDF in this way.

FPA members are advised to consider the difficult situation in Gaza and are advised to exercise due caution, but continued access to Gaza is crucial to our membership.

We urge the IDF to reconsider the closure and recognise the IDF spokesperson’s efforts to this end.

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