Press Freedom Under Attack of Israel: Closure of Al Jazeera and Calls for Accountability

Press Freedom Under Attack of Israel: Closure of Al Jazeera and Calls for Accountability

On Sunday, May 5, the Israeli government shut down Al Jazeera's offices, seized its equipment, and restricted access to its websites, a move that undermines the Netanyahu government's claims regarding press freedom and the obligations by the occupation.

Last month, the Knesset passed a law permitting the prohibition of foreign media outlets deemed "harmful to Israel's national security" by authorities.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning president of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) expressed her dismay, stating: "The decision to close Al Jazeera on World Press Freedom Day is a severe blow to both journalism and human rights organizations."

Furthermore, she stated that the Israeli occupation forces' violations against journalists, including killings, arrests, harassment, and office closures, are unfortunately commonplace in both the occupied territories and inside Israel, posing a threat to free media coverage in Palestine.

Since October 7, 2023, the Israeli government has cracked down on the press and media. Alongside their brutal war on the Gaza Strip, over 135 Palestinian journalists, both male and female, have been killed—a record number in modern conflicts.

According to the "Women Journalists Without Chains" organization, the closure of Al Jazeera is seen as another addition to the series of Israeli practices that are deemed violations against press freedom. They firmly believe that those responsible for these actions should be held accountable in international courts as perpetrators of crimes against freedom of the press.

Women Journalists Without Chains asserts that the closure of Al Jazeera is another addition to the catalogue of ongoing Israeli practices deemed as crimes against press freedom, emphasizing the necessity of holding the responsible individuals accountable through international courts.

The decision by the Netanyahu government to shut down the Al Jazeera network signifies the Israeli authorities' continued adherence to an ineffective strategy that seeks to restrict the dissemination of information, facts, and media coverage to audiences beyond Palestine and the occupied territories.

 Accordingly, the WJWC presents the following demands:

  • Swiftly rescind the decision to close Al Jazeera and other foreign media outlets, recognizing that allowing the occupation government to curtail media freedom undermines coverage of the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict and aims to conceal the atrocities committed by authorities and settlers in the occupied territories.
  • Initiate immediate and impartial investigations into Israeli war crimes targeting press freedom, encompassing acts of violence, arrests, media outlet closures, and restrictions placed on both male and female journalists.
  • Promptly release all detained journalists currently held in occupation prisons.
  • Appeal to the international community to take resolute steps in halting these violations, preventing further media outlet closures, and ensuring the safety of Palestinian journalists, protecting their fundamental right to practice their profession with freedom and security.



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