By Afshain Afzal
As per the figures released by independent sources more than 36 Muslim Palestinian journalists were confirmed martyred and 12 injured. However, multiple news agencies and sources only confirmed killing of 23 Palestinians and 1 Lebanese while injuring 9 journalists since the Israeli aggression began on 7 October 2023. It was also reported that 3 journalists are missing or detained missing by Israeli authorities. Those who were martyred included: Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi, a photographer from Ain Media, Mohammad Jarghoun from Smart Media, Mohammad Al-Salhi, a photojournalist from Fourth Authority News Agency, Assaad Shamlakh, a freelance journalist along with nine members of his family, Hisham Alnwajha from “Khabar” news agency, Mohammed Sobh, a photographer from “Khabar” News Agency, Saeed al-Taweel, editor-in-chief of the Al-Khamsa News, Mohamed Fayez Abu Matar a photojournalist, Ahmed Shehab from Sowt Al-Asra Radio along with his wife and three children, Issam Abdallah, a Beirut-based videographer for the Reuters, Husam Mubarak from Al Aqsa Radio, Salam Mema, head of the Women Journalists Committee at the Palestinian Media Assembly, Yousef Maher Dawas from Palestine Chronicle and a writer for We Are Not Numbers, Abdulhadi Habib from Al-Manara News Agency, Issam Bhar from Al-Aqsa TV, Mohammad Balousha from Gaza based media channel “Palestine Today”, Sameeh Al-Nady from Al-Aqsa TV, Abu Aathra, Khalil Abu Aathra, a videographer from Al-Aqsa TV, Abu Aathra, Mohammed Ali from Al-Shabab Radio (Youth Radio) and Roshdi Sarraj co owner of Ain Media, a private media company in Palestine was also working for Radio France.
In addition to these Israeli rescue service Zaka said that its paramedics removed approximately 260 bodies from a music festival including journalists attending the function. As per the reports, on the first day of attack on 7th October, Israeli nationals namely Shai Regev, editor for TMI, a Hebrew-language newspaper Ma’ariv, Ayelet Arnin, news editor with the Israel Broadcasting Corporation Kan and Yaniv Zohar, a photographer working for the Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Israel Hayom were killed. However, it could not be confirmed as about Ayelet Arnin and Shai Regev as it has been revealed that they were among those killed when some group gunned down revelers at a music festival in the Israeli desert. About Yaniv Zoharit it is revealed that they lived at Kibbutz near the Gaza border was killed by Hamas but how Amir Tibon from Haaretz who also lives at Kibbutz, survived after hiding with his family in a safe room for ten hours while Roee Idan, a photojournalist for news site Ynet went missing along with his three-year-old daughter.
One wonders massacre and violence against journalists and media persons and silence over these crimes remains one of the greatest challenges to freedom of expression. The Israeli self-engineered 7th October attack inside Israel was aimed to legitimate genocide of Palestinian Muslims. How it is possible that during claimed attack on a country with hundreds of rocket fired from different directions, anyone can continue with music festival. It also gives leads that the 7 October attack was Israeli intelligence agency Shen Beth and Mossad’s self engineered. There is no doubt; freedom of media is essential to enable democratic, free and responsible societies to ensure transparency and accountability for public and governmental authorities. Yet media freedom and the safety of journalists are under threat, especially in the Muslim world where they are targeted like wild rabbits in a farmland. United Nations must condemn the target killing of the Palestinian Muslim journalists and media persons in strongest words, as part of Israeli genocide plan of Palestinians and attempts to change Hamas political authority with western sponsored surrendered authority to take control of Gaza and elsewhere to negotiate peace in near future.