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FPA Statements 2007

December 7, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to condemn today’s harassment by IDF forces of journalists covering a demonstration near the village of Umm Salmona near Bethlehem. 

During the course of this demonstration against the West Bank separation barrier, television cameramen working for APTN and Reuters were arrested and held for more than three hours . 

The two were accused by the IDF of participating in the demonstration and obstructing the IDF. The available video material of this incident casts serious doubt on the IDF accusations and shows both men attempting to do their legitimate work of covering the news. 

Both men are well known and trusted employees of international new agencies. 

We urge the relevant authorities to allow journalists to cover these sorts of events without interference. 

This is the latest in a series of incidents in which FPA members and other journalists have been obstructed, and in some cases injured, trying to cover these kinds of demonstrations. The construction of the barrier remains an important story and coverage of demonstrations against is entirely legitimate. 

November 29, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association condemns the disgraceful and brutal treatment of journalists at the hands of Palestinian security forces during demonstrations across the West Bank on Tuesday November 27. The beatings, arrests and seizure of equipment which targetted journalists carrying out their normal professional duties were shocking in their wanton disregard for basic press freedoms. The FPA calls on the Palestinian Authority to thoroughly investigate the causes behind these outrageous attacks and hold those responsible to account. We also urge strong action from those responsible to reinforce the PA’s commitment to the basic principles of a free press which allow for our members to conduct their professional duties without fear of attack or arrest.

November 14, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns today’s harrassment of Palestinian journalists in Gaza by members of Hamas’s security forces. 

We view today’s incident as a serious infringement of the freedom of the press, and we demand an immediate end to this continued obstruction and intimidation. 

The FPA also wishes to protest at recent moves to force all journalists in Gaza to apply for new press cards with conditions and rules attached to the new accreditation which we deem to be contrary to the freedom of the press. 

The authorities in Gaza are urged to respect press freedom and to allow all journalists to pursue their work without intimidation or interference. 

The FPA remains committed to defending the rights of its members to work free from political or factional manipulation. We urge all parties to uphold the universally recognised standards of a free press. 

November 5, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association wishes to condemn the recent Israeli Police arrest operation in which officers were disguised as working TV journalists. 

Journalists depend on being judged as objective observers, and any move that threatens this crucial status, directly challenges our safety and ability to work. 

The consequences of policemen dressing up as journalists are only too obvious to envisage. 

We urge the Israeli Police not to repeat this regrettable incident. 

September 9, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

Despite being given clear permission by the chief of the Preventive Security Forces to go ahead and film the arrests of Hamas members in Hebron, journalists from Reuters, AFP and AP were rounded up by security men who harassed, pushed and beat the journalists – confiscating cameras and equipment and detaining the journalists. The Reuters cameraman, Yusri al-Jamal, has been hospitalised after receiving a particularly savage beating. His condition is stable, but he is being held overnight for observation with bad bruising to his head.

We demand that those responsible be held fully accountable. Only if justice is served and those responsible are punished to the full extent of the law will the culture of impunity around intimidating and harrassing journalists end.

Leaders on both sides of the Palestinian divide have given ample assurances that the legitimate work of journalists and freedom of the press will be upheld – but it is now time that these verbal assurances be translated in to action.

The FPA stands ready to assist in any legitimate attempt to bring those responsible to justice. Our members, unfortunately, have plenty of evidence in stills and video to identify security officers who have overstepped the mark and have attacked legitimate journalists going about their work. 

September 7, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA yet again condemns today’s pre-meditated harassment of journalists in Gaza. We have received a steady stream of reports describing physical intimidation and arrests of journalists by members of the so-called Hamas Executive Force including the confiscation of cameras and tapes . These incidents have occurred in different places and at different times suggesting a coordinated policy by Hamas security forces. 

This week the FPA held face to face discussions with senior members of Hamas responsible for press relations in Gaza. We were assured there was no policy of harassment, and that the security forces had been ordered to allow journalists unhindered movement and freedom to pursue their work. Those present made clear commitments to recognize the freedom of the press and to allow free coverage. 

Today’s violence suggests those responsible do not recognize the rights of journalists, and therefore the FPA demands an immediate end to this policy of harassment and condemns today’s flagrant abuses of our fellow journalists. ]

September 2, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA again condemns the flagrant abuse of journalists in Gaza this last Friday by Hamas security forces. 

We appeal to the leadership of Hamas to make good on their spoken commitment to protect the rights of journalists working in Gaza. 

This is the second time in as many weeks that members have complained of serious harassment by Hamas. 

We ask for the universally recognised freedom of the press to be upheld, and demand an immediate end to the physical intimidation and beating of journalists covering events in Gaza. 

August 26, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to protest in the strongest possible terms the violent harrassment of journalists covering events in Gaza on Friday. 

During the legitimate pursuit of their coverage several colleagues were physically intimidated by members of Hamas’s security forces. An attempt was made to take a TV camera and shots were fired in threatening proximity to our colleagues. 

This kind of dangerous infringement of professional journalists pursuing their duties is unaccaptable. 

We urge the relevant authorities in Gaza to allow the proper functioning of the free press. There can be no excuse for any attempt to limit this freedom.

August 14, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns recent acts of harassment of Palestinian journalists and institutions in Gaza. 

The FPA views recent harassment by the security forces of Hamas as a serious attack on the freedom of the press. 

Yesterday we received reports of armed Hamas security forces forcibly entering the offices of Al Arabiya. During the incident equipment was taken. 

This and other similar incidents are an intolerable breach of the rights of our Palestinian colleagues and the FPA condemns these actions. 

Our Palestinian journalist colleagues must be allowed to operate with complete freedom from this kind of interference. 

We demand Hamas to do everything necessary to stop these acts. 

July 4, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association and all its members wish to express their happiness and relief at the release of our colleague Alan Johnston. We wish him well and look forward to seeing him soon. Thank you to everyone who participated in events designed to raise the profile of his case. 

We hope there will be no more kidnappings of this kind in Gaza or anywhere else. 

We thank those involved in securing his release. 

June 9, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns today’s use of a vehicle marked with TV insignia in an attack against IDF positions at Kissufim.

Armoured vehicles marked with TV are an invaluable protection for genuine journalists working in hostile environments. The FPA has long campaigned for the continued availability of armoured vehicles for its members, despite official opposition in some quarters.

Today’s abuse of this recognised protection for the working journalist is a grave development and we condemn those that carried it out.

Such an incident will reduce the protection offered by marked vehicles.

We will continue to campaign for the legitimate use of these vehicles for our members, a job no doubt made more complicated by today’s incident.

May 28, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The incident was captured in television footage and photographs which have been widely broadcast by Israeli and foreign media.

The pictures clearly show the guards shooting in a reckless manner that unnecessarily endangered the safety of people in the vicinity.

FPA members at the scene, all veteran reporters of West Bank demonstrations, were shocked at the lack of discipline of the gurads in charge at the site.

We remain unstaisfied with the initial response from the authroities to requests from FPA  members for information on this incident, and seek a thorough investigation.

In follow up conversantions wiht officials from the IDF, the police and the MInistry of Defense we still have not been reliably informed who these guards work for or to whom they are accountable.

We seek assurances that priovate contractors hired by government agencies in security roles involving the media will strive to safeguard the weel-being of journalists doing their jobs and that those who hire them impress upon them the inportance of a free press in a democracy.

May 24, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA Board was concerned to hear that despite the clear and unambiguous request of the family of Shirel Friedman for a private funeral in Sderot on tuesday, a number of photographers chose to cover the event.

We understand that the stills photographers’ representative on the Board made every effort to distribute notification of the family’s wishes for the media to stay away. These wishes were respected by the majority of photographers.

We think it unfortunate that the request of the family was not respected by a small number of members.

May 17, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA is very concerned about an incident near the West Bank village of Artas where private security guards, hired by the Israeli authorities to protect a bulding project on disputed land, fired automatic weapons in a haphazard and unprofessional manner near a group of journalists covering a peaceful protest staged by a small number of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists.

In the light of current events in Gaza the FPA wishes to remind members of the very real and current threat against foreign journalists operating in Gaza.

Recent information from colleagues from the BBC persuades us that it is still extremely unsafe for members to go to Gaza.

This advice is echoed by UN security recommendations warning of very serious threats against foreign nationals in Gaza.

Threats to kidnap journalists are still being communicated from various sources in Gaza with particular reference to British and Americans.

We urge all members to think very carefully before going to Gaza and to be aware of the continuing threat.

May 16, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns in the strongest possible terms the harrassment of Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

There can be no excuse for the abuse of our colleagues working for the international media as witnessed in the Al Jazeera, BBC and Ramatan Offices today. 

Jourmalists are neutral observers of conflict and should not be considered party to factional differences. 

We urge all groups to stop the flagrant violation  of the freedom of the press and to allow Palestinian journalists in Gaza to pursue their work without interference and without blatantly endangering their lives.

April 23, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns the harassment of journalists trying to cover last Friday’s demonstration in the Palestinian village of Bilin. Israeli security forces were observed firing tear gas canisters in the direction of journalists and several cameramen were detained at the scene while they tried to cover the demonstration. 

Journalists have every right to cover these events without fear of harassment and assault by Israeli security forces.

April 18, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns the recent Resolution of the British National Union of Journalists which called for the boycotting of Israeli goods.

The FPA believes such a resolution runs counter to the core journalistic values which we are here to uphold and defend, namely objectivity and balance.

The FPA is made up of professional journalists who cover this story on a daily basis, and we reject any resolution that so clearly takes sides. At an ethical level we do not feel it is  appropriate for a body representing journalists to take such positions.

We noted that the resolution failed to mention the plight of our colleague Alan Johnston and we consider this a serious ommission.

Furthermore we believe that such resolutions may prejudice our memberships already difficult task here in striving to interact effectively with all sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society.

April 17, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

At yesterday’s AGM there was widespread expression of members’ dismay, frustration and anger at the continuing detention of our colleague Alan Johnston.

There was uniform condemnation of this assault on press freedom and of the clear and unwarranted abuse of an individual’s personal freedom.

The FPA repeats its condemnation of this kidnapping and demands Alan’s immediate release. Moreover, we demand that once this unhappy episode has been put behind us, real steps are taken by those in charge to make sure this never happens again, 

It was established from those present at yesterday’s meeting that few, if any, foreign journalists are now going to Gaza. Effectively Gaza has become a “no-go” zone for our members, as a direct consequence of Alan Johnston’s abduction.

The FPA resolves to take whatever further action is necessary to ensure Alan’s immediate release.

Accordinlgy the FPA announces a public demonstration in support of Alan Johnston to be held at The Erez Crossing, next wednesday 25th April at 11am. We urge members to attend, to show our solidarity with Alan and with our Palestinian colleagues in Gaza who have recently shown such courage and resolve in defence of press freedom.

Further details in due course.

April 12, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

It is a month since Alan Johnston was abducted in Gaza. He remains detained by his kidnappers.

The FPA greets this unfortunate anniversary with dismay, frustration and anger.

Enormous efforts have been made by our colleagues at the BBC to win his release. Our colleagues from the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate have also displayed extraordinary courage in protesting against Alan’s kidnapping with unprecendented commitment.

These efforts have succeeded in maintaining the focus of attention on Alan’s plight. But so far they have failed to win his release.

We are reassured by expressions of concern from those of influence engaged in trying to return Alan. But we insist on greater effort. The fact of Alan’s continued detention casts a dark shadow.

It is a situation that discourages necessary coverage of Gaza, and its people. It is a direct assault on the freedom of the press. It is the inexcusable abuse of an individual’s freedom and it is the betrayal of traditional customs of hospitality and humanity, for which the people of Gaza are rightly famous.

We demand Alan’s immediate release and urge all parties to redouble their efforts. Alan’s continued detention is causing real damage.

March 21, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association


The Board and membership of the FPA wishes to express its concern and dismay over the continued detention of our friend and colleague Alan Johnston.

It is now over a week since Alan was abducted while carrying out his professional duties in Gaza. Duties as a journalist devoted entirely to covering the experience of Palestinians living in Gaza.

Alan’s commitment and meticulous approach in this regard are recognized by all, making his abduction all the more inexplicable and frustrating.

The FPA once more calls on everyone with influence to do all they can to bring about Alan’s immediate release. His continued detention for whatever reason can serve no useful purpose. We appeal to the Palestinian National Authority to use all resources at its disposal to bring about Alan’s immediate release.

We demand that journalists be allowed to conduct their important work without fear of harassment or abduction, and we believe that such actions likely to limit the freedom of the press can bring no possible benefit. 

In the meantime we urgently appeal for firm reassurance of his condition and well being. We all send our best wishes to Alan’s family, and to his friends and colleagues at the BBC. 

March 12, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA expresses its profound concern at reports of the apparent abduction of BBC reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza this afternoon.

Mr. Johnston is an experienced reporter and familiar and respected figure to all in Gaza.

There can be no justifiable reason for his abduction and we urge his immediate release.  We ask all in Gaza to respect the rights and safety of the press.

The FPA would also appeal to anyone with useful information in this case to report it immediately to the appropriate authorities.

February 28, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

FPA Protest

The FPA wishes to protest against the obstruction and ill treatment of journalists trying to cover recent IDf activity in Nablus.

hile we appreciate the difficulty of the environment in which the IDF is operating during these operations, journalists have a duty to be there as well. Our attempts to cover IDF activity in Nablus during such operations is entirely legitimate.

We again urge the IDF to allow our members and other journalists the freedom to pursue their work unhindered.

January 23, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association condemns the attack on Al Arabiya’s office in Gaza city.  

This is a new and dangerous step in the campaign against freedom of the press in addition to the constant kidnapping and harassment of media personnel that has taken place in Gaza in recent years. 

We call on the Palestinian Authority to protect the freedom of the press and to bring those responsible for this act to justice. 

January 1, 2007
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA condemns today’s kidnapping of photographer Jaime Razuri in Gaza.

Mr Razuri, working for AFP, was abducted while on working assignment.

The FPA once again appeals to all parties in Gaza to bring about the speedy and safe return of our colleague and friend.

We utterly condemn the continued harrassment of journalists in this way. We must be allowed to work freely and without fear of kidnapping in Gaza.

It is in no one’s interests to treat journalists in this way, and we ask all those with influence to do their utmost to bring about the immediate release of Mr Razuri.

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