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European Press review 12 Jan 2024

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es Vienna, January 12, 2024

The Eurotopics Press Review remains invaluable for a quick panorama of what’s being said and fought about in the European media.

Today’s main headline:

The Hague: Israel to respond to South Africa’s genocide charges…Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice in The Hague today It intends to reject the claim by invoking its right to self-defence. Commentators are divided.

Other media news today: Gaza is proving to be a fatal assignment for many colleagues.

Leading press freedom groups and human rights organisations have called on Joe Biden to do more to pressure Israel to “abide by international law” amid accusations that its military is targeting journalists in the Gaza war, and to hold it to account for the killings of reporters.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and other groups said in a letter to the US president that more media workers have been killed in the conflict since the Hamas attack on 7 October than in any single country over an entire year.

The CPJ calculates that at least 79 journalists have died, mostly Palestinians and almost all at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), although four Israeli reporters were killed in the Hamas cross-border attack…..

The letter urged Biden to “abjure the indiscriminate and deliberate killing of journalists, promptly and thoroughly investigate all attacks on journalists, and hold accountable individuals found to be responsible for them”.

The groups also asked the president to pressure Israel to permit journalists to enter Gaza and report freely on the war after months of almost all foreign reporters being blocked from the Palestinian territory.

Israel often boasts it has a free press but the letter noted censorship restricting reporting on legitimate matters of public concern and threats by the government “against the country’s oldest newspaper, Haaretz, for its coverage of the war, and threatening to shut down local bureau offices of foreign news agencies”.

My former colleague Chris McGreal wrote this very personal account of his experiences in Gaza:

Israel is murdering Palestinian journalists in Gaza. Where is the outrage?

“I am in awe of Wael Dahdouh’s strength to haul himself back in front of the camera and focus on the suffering of others even as he has repeatedly endured his own personal hell. The face of Al Jazeera’s reporting throughout Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza was on air in October when he learned that his wife, seven-year-old daughter, 15-year-old son and one-year-old grandson were killed in an attack. Still he went on reporting.

“Last month, Dahdouh himself was wounded and his cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, killed in the Israeli bombing of a UN-run school used as a shelter. Then on Sunday, an Israeli drone strike on a car in southern Gaza killed Dahdouh’s eldest son, 27-year-old Hamza, who also worked for Al Jazeera, along with another journalist.”


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