RSF Secretary-General, Christophe Deloire, says the United Nations must convene to pressure Israel to uphold the rights and protections owed to media professionals.
As the death toll among journalists continues to mount amid violent Israeli expansionism, press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has urged the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency meeting.
In a communique published on Wednesday, RSF said that since October 7, continuous Israeli belligerence clearly demonstrates the occupying force’s “failure to comply with its obligations under applicable international law, in particular, UN Security Council Resolution 2222.”
As per Resolution 2222, which was ratified in May 2015, during conflict combatting states bear the “primary responsibility to respect and ensure the human rights of their citizens, as well as individuals within their territory as provided for by relevant international law.”
As the UN regards journalism as an essential and fundamental profession, the resolution urged member states to commit to ensuring the protection of all journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.
According to the resolution, media professionals are not to be intimidated, harassed or assaulted while reporting during conflict.
Member states are also duty-bound to prosecute those who violate this protective convention.
Since October 7, at least 115 journalists and media professionals have been killed by Israel.
This includes Palestinian journalist Hamza Al Dahdouh – the son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al Dahdouh.
On Sunday, an Israeli missile in Khan Younis killed the 27-year-old journalist, as well as his colleague Mustafa Thuraya.
On Tuesday, UNESCO’s Director General, Audrey Azoulay, condemned Israel’s murder of Al Dahdouh and Thuraya.
In a statement, she said “I reiterate my call to respect UN Security Council Resolution 2222/2015 on the protection of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel as civilians in situations of conflict,” and called for a comprehensive investigation into their deaths.
The CPJ added that the whereabouts of at least three journalists are unknown and a further 21 have been detained by Israeli forces.
In the case of Ibrahim Zouhairy, who was arrested on November 18 and remains in Israeli prison, Israeli forces stormed his home in the occupied West Bank’s Ramallah.
His sister, Hala Al-Zouhairy, said that during the brutal raid, Israeli soldiers attacked Ibrahim and their brother Mohammad. Both brothers were arrested after the raid.
RSF said the UNSC needs to urgently convene to pressure Israel to comply strictly with Resolution 2222 to uphold media professionals’ rights.
An emergency meeting is also needed to force Israel to open Rafah Crossing to allow the safe entry of journalists into the besieged Strip, as well as facilitate those who wish to leave to evacuate.
RSF also said Israel needs to designate safe zones for journalists covering Israel’s expansionist aggression and enable abundant access to protective gear and equipment for reporters and media professionals working in the combat zones.
In a statement, RSF Secretary General, Christophe Deloire said that Resolution 2222’s ratification was a landmark advancement in the protection of journalists’ rights and safety during conflict coverage.
“[The UNSC] now has a duty to convene an emergency meeting specially dedicated to the protection of Palestinian journalists. It must ensure Israel’s compliance with Resolution 2222 (2015),” he added.