Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, Friday committed to work on improving journalists’ safety and fighting against impunity following a meeting with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS). The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on the new Palestinian government to turn their words into action and take immediate steps to reform the legal and regulatory media framework in Palestine.
Mohammad Shtayyeh addressed the challenges of safety and impunity for crimes against journalists in a country where attacks on media professionals are common. Last year, two journalists were killed in Palestine by the Israeli army and many more were injured. Overall, the PJS registered last year more than 1000 attacks on Palestinian journalists, of which the vast majority were perpetrated by Israeli authorities.
Shtayyeh promised that his government will provide financial support for the PJS’ media safety centre, adding that his government is committed to establish a national safety mechanism in cooperation with the PJS, the media sector and other civil society organizations. The aim of the new body will be to investigate and report on acts of violence against journalists and media workers in Palestine.
He also pledged to review the draft media law submitted by the PJS which aims to strengthen Palestinian journalists’ work and allow for the emergence of strong and independent media outlets in Palestine. The IFJ and PJS had repeatedly said that media reform in Palestine must be guided by the principles of the Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab World, which Palestine signed in August 2016.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We welcome the commitment of PM Mohammad Shtayyeh during his meeting with the leadership of the PJS and we are always ready to do our best to support this process. However, there are many unfulfilled promises from previous Palestinian governments to protect and support journalists and reforming the media sector; we genuinely hope that this new period will be different.