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UNESCO awards World Press Freedom Prize to all Palestinian journalists

UNESCO awarded all Palestinian journalists covering Gaza conflict with press freedom prize. Since conflict’s start in October last year, 97 journalists lost their lives, 92 of whom were Palestinians.



Palestinian journalists reporting from Gaza have been honoured as recipients of the 2024 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, based on the endorsement of an International Jury comprising media experts.

Nasser Abu Baker, President of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) and Vice-President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) accepted the UNESCO prize on behalf of his fellow journalists in Gaza during a ceremony held on Thursday (2 May) in Santiago, Chile.

Chaired by Mauricio Weibel, the international jury of media professionals has voiced solidarity with Palestinian journalists navigating the crisis.

Weibel stated, “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.”

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, commended the journalists’ bravery, stating, “The prize pays tribute to the courage of journalists facing difficult and dangerous circumstances.”

“Once again this year, the Prize reminds us of the importance of collective action to ensure that journalists around the world can continue to carry out their essential work to inform and investigate.”

97 journalists killed since conflict’s onset in October 2023

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), as of 1 May, 97 journalists have lost their lives since the conflict began in October last year, with 92 of them being Palestinians.

Among the casualties are two Israelis and three Lebanese journalists.

Additionally, 16 journalists have been reported injured, while 4 journalists remain missing. Furthermore, 25 journalists have been reported arrested.

CPJ highlighted the escalating threats against journalists, including physical assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship, and even targeted killings of their family members.

Journalists in Gaza face particularly acute risks as they strive to cover the conflict amidst an Israeli ground assault.

The challenges include devastating Israeli airstrikes, disrupted communications, shortages of essential supplies, and widespread power outages.

UNESCO demonstrates its commitment to supporting journalists reporting from conflict and crisis zones by providing vital assistance.

The Organization is actively distributing essential supplies to journalists in Gaza and has taken steps to establish safe working spaces, along with offering emergency grants for journalists in Ukraine and Sudan.

Furthermore, UNESCO is dedicated to enhancing the safety of journalists worldwide by providing protective equipment and training to journalists in Haiti and extending support to independent media outlets in Afghanistan.

In a separate effort, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) underscores the grave risks faced by journalists amidst the war in Gaza.

The conflict highlights the extreme dangers encountered by journalists in the region.

Palestine itself ranks 157th out of 180 countries in terms of overall press freedom and security for journalists, placing it near the bottom of the list.

This ranking emphasizes the urgent need for enhanced protection and support for journalists operating in Palestine and other conflict-affected regions.

The conflict was sparked by an unprecedented 7 October raid into southern Israel in which Hamas and other militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages.

Israel says militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The conflict has killed at least 34,097 Palestinians and wounded another 76,980, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The ministry suggests that the actual toll is probably higher, as numerous bodies remain trapped beneath rubble or in areas inaccessible to medical personnel.

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