CPJ report: Israel responsible for more journalist deaths than any army in a single year

According to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the first ten weeks of Israel’s conflict in besieged Gaza have been the most lethal for journalists in a single year at one location.

Out of 68 journalists and media workers killed in the conflict, 61 were Palestinian, the CPJ reported. The organization expressed deep concern on Thursday about what it described as a “pattern of targeting journalists and their families by the Israeli military.”

An Israeli military spokesperson denied allegations that their forces target journalists.

“The number of journalist casualties has risen to 97 since the onset of the Israeli aggression on Gaza,” stated the Gaza-based government media office on Tuesday. The latest victim, Adel Zorob, was reportedly killed in Israeli air strikes on Rafah city, southern Gaza. The media office accused the Israeli army of deliberately targeting Palestinian journalists to “obliterate the truth.”

The CPJ data also showed that four Israeli and three Lebanese journalists, including Reuters news agency’s Issam Abdallah, were killed between Oct. 7 and Dec. 20.

CPJ, a non-profit organization advocating for press freedom globally, is further investigating the deaths of these journalists. Efforts in Gaza are challenged by widespread destruction and the killing of journalists’ family members, who often provide crucial information for such investigations.

Due to intense Israeli bombardment, reporting in Gaza has faced severe restrictions, including communication blackouts and scarcities in food, fuel, and housing. CPJ noted that foreign journalists have largely been unable to access the area independently for most of the conflict.

“The Israel-Gaza war presents the most dangerous situation for journalists we have seen,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “With every journalist killed, the war becomes harder to document and understand.”

A CPJ report in May noted a “deadly pattern” where Israeli soldiers had killed at least 20 journalists over the past 22 years, with no charges or accountability.

On Wednesday, Press For Palestine, an initiative for Palestinian journalists, released a single-copy newspaper in Istanbul, highlighting that more journalists were killed in the recent Israeli-Gaza conflict than during World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War, despite these events spanning longer periods.

The non-profit organization called on Israel and the international community to protect journalists, suggesting measures like respecting press insignia, ensuring access and reporting ability, investigating attacks, and ending impunity.