Palestinian Journalists Win UNESCO Press Preedom Prize

All Palestinian journalists covering Israel’s deadly war on Gaza have been awarded UNESCO’s world press freedom prize, the United Nations cultural agency has said. “In these times of darkness and hopelessness, we wish to share a strong message of solidarity and recognition to those Palestinian journalists who are covering this crisis in such dramatic circumstances,” Mauricio Weibel, chair of the international jury of media professionals, said during the announcement on Thursday, May 2.

Journalists bids farewell during the funeral of Palestine TV journalist Mohamed Abu Hatab and 11 family members, the day after they were killed in an Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis in November 2023 (Photo: Reporters Without Borders)

“As humanity, we have a huge debt to their courage and commitment to freedom of expression,” Weibel added during a ceremony in Chile’s capital, Santiago, on the eve of World Press Freedom Day today. Audrey Azoulay, director general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said the prize pays “tribute to the courage of journalists facing difficult and dangerous circumstances.”

More than 100 journalists and media workers, the vast majority Palestinian, have been killed in the first seven months of the current conflict in Gaza that started in October, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

According the Reporters Without Borders freedom of press 2024 index, published today, who ranks 180 countries on the ability of journalists to report freely from the ground several major countries slipping down the ranking this year compared to 2023, including the US, Israel and Argentina. Criticizing the Israeli military’s killing of over 100 journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it said “disinformation campaigns and oppressive laws have multiplied in Israel” since the war began. Israel has seen the steepest drop of 11 places to rank 97th in the index. According Communist Israeli weekly Zo Haderech, “Far-right Israeli government open hostility to the media poses a disturbing threat to the limited right to information in the country.”