Calls for Escalating Solidarity: Journalists Unions Role in Backing Gaza's Press Freedom Featured

By Hassan Al-Qabbani February 14, 2024 2151

“We will not stop our support and solidarity, and we will stand with all we have to be a voice for every Palestinian journalist. Coordination will continue with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the International Federation of Journalists to pursue the Zionist war criminals.” This was a clear and explicit promise from the head of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, Khaled Elbalshy, in one of his recent union conferences attended by “Al-Mujtama.”

However, some talk about the stance of the journalists' unions across our Arab countries and raise questions about what support they have provided to the knights of journalism in the Gaza Strip, where, as of the time of writing this article, 110 Palestinian journalists have been martyred, in addition to questioning future forms of support.

 

 

Al-Razeeqi: The Arab Journalists Union is monitoring the issue, proposing a support and reconstruction fund

In the beginning, Sadiq Ibrahim Al-Razeeqi, the head of the Sudanese Journalists Union, the president of the Federation of African Journalists, and the Vice President of the Arab Journalists Union, said in an interview with “Al-Mujtama”: Since the blessed battle of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” began, the conscience of Arab journalists has been moved to expose the Zionist aggression through their unions and federations. Arab federations, unions, and press organizations and associations declared their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their journalists, issuing statements condemning the brutal Zionist aggression.

Al-Razeeqi explained that this was preceded by a statement followed by an urgent emergency meeting of the Union's General Secretariat on October 23, 2023, in Cairo, to discuss facing the aggression. During the meeting, decisions and immediate measures were taken to show solidarity with the journalists in Gaza. Among these measures was an active contribution and joint action with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the International Federation of Journalists to move the file before international justice and the global human rights arena.

Al-Razeeqi added that the Union has been in continuous session since the first moment of the aggression, calling for activating criminal prosecution, the establishment of a media platform to expose the falsehood of the Zionist narrative, immediate solidarity with Palestinian journalists in Gaza, and the proposal of an urgent fund to support them and rebuild their homes that were targeted by the bombings. This is in parallel with the Arab journalists unions individually taking immediate action within the framework of international justice and support for the Palestinian Union, alongside issuing periodic statements.

 

Hussein: A major uproar is necessary.  Journalists are the eyes of the nation and the conveyors of truth

A Major Uproar

On the other hand, journalist Magdi Hussein, one of the most renown journalists in Egypt and a former member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, stated in his interview with “Al-Mujtama”: I find the Arab journalists' unions, to the extent of my follow-up, falling short in addressing the situation of journalists in Gaza and the events there in general. Despite my appreciation for all that the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate has done, there must be a major uproar over the killing of more than 110 journalists in Gaza so far. This is a global record in crime, considering it only happened within 100 days, meaning a journalist is killed almost every day, in addition to the killing of about 4 or 5 journalists in Lebanon.

Hussein added that all journalistic activities should aim to create sufficient international outrage and embarrass Western media outlets that do not attend solidarity events. He emphasized that this is not a matter concerning journalists, as journalists are the eyes and tongues of the nation and the conveyors of truth. What happened to them in Gaza requires creating the appropriate outrage for such a major and unprecedented crime.

He suggested dedicating a page in every newspaper or website for the pictures of all these martyrs and having journalistic unions organize protests in front of United Nations headquarters and American embassies, considering America a full partner in all Zionist crimes. Additionally, he proposed holding regular conferences and seminars at the headquarters of unions and elsewhere.

 

Al-Bakri: Journalists unions should adopt the Palestinian cause, defending it without neutrality

No Neutrality

From the land of the Jasmine Revolution, Tunisian journalist Zeina Al-Bakri believes that journalists unions in the Arab world should serve as wings for justice and freedom, adopting the Palestinian cause and defending it without neutrality.

Al-Bakri stated in an interview with “Al-Mujtama”: In Tunisia, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists vehemently defended the persecuted journalists in Gaza. Since the start of the systematic genocide in Gaza, the Journalists Union in Tunisia has carried out movements and protests in support of Gaza, the Palestinian people, and their journalists.

She added that the Tunisian Journalists Union also participated in the National Committee to Support the Resistance in Palestine, a committee that includes human rights organizations in Tunisia. It continuously worked to condemn and expose the crimes of the occupation, launching various campaigns in solidarity with Palestinian journalists.

Meanwhile, Hazem Hosny, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, believes that Arab journalists unions and the International Federation of Journalists can highlight continuous media solidarity with the journalism martyrs. They can file international lawsuits in solidarity with the affected institutions, like “Al Jazeera,” or independent legal actions on behalf of journalistic institutions, especially with the increasing number of martyrs.

 

Hosny: Solidarity must go beyond halls and statements, and supporting the boycott is a duty

Hosny explained, in his interview with “Al-Mujtama,” that the solidarity of journalists unions with Palestinian journalists should not be confined to statements, seminars, and other events that happen in halls. Instead, journalists should play a role in activating the boycott, organizing themselves to advocate for the boycott, and exposing companies, institutions, and organizations that collaborate with and support the occupation. This is an attempt to cut off the economic supply to the hand that kills journalists and civilians in the occupied territories.

 Various activities

Since the beginning of the Zionist aggression, various forms of solidarity have emerged, with the most notable being the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate activities. They organized numerous union activities, including solidarity days, relief campaigns, artistic events, press conferences, and demonstrations, granting the Palestinian journalist Wael Al-Dahdouh the “Egyptian Journalism” award for his resilience.

The Kuwaiti Journalists Association issued a condemnation statement on October 14, 2023, denouncing the targeting of journalists in Gaza and southern Lebanon. The syndicate organized an extensive panel discussion on the crimes of the Zionist occupation.

The Bahraini Journalists Association condemned the attacks on journalists and reporters in Gaza and called for their protection. The Sudanese Journalists Syndicate also called for providing protection to journalists in November and December 2023. Additionally, the Federation of Arab Journalists repeatedly demanded the trial of those responsible for the crimes of killing journalists.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------
Read the Article in Arabic