On the shutting down of Al Jazeera by Israel

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) strongly denounces the Israeli government’s unilateral decision to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations within its territory. Al Jazeera has been a prominent voice reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, documenting the civilian cost, including women and children, of the ongoing war in Gaza.

The current move by Israeli PM Netanyahu, utilizing new legislation to shut down Al Jazeera, is a serious abrogation of the freedom of the press and the right to information. This move, coming shortly after World Press Freedom Day, indicates the Israeli government’s intention to control the narrative surrounding its actions in Gaza. This sets an ominous precedent for all international news outlets operating within Israeli territory.

As is evident from investigations by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 97 journalists and media workers have lost their lives reporting about war in this region. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which released the annual Press Freedom Index last week on World Press Freedom Day, pointed to the “record number of violations against journalists and media” in the past 8 months. This targeting of journalists and independent news channels is unacceptable in any nation that calls itself a democracy.

IAWRT urges the United Nations and the international community to pass strictures and take decisive action against Israel’s actions, both regarding its conduct in Palestinian territories and its suppression of press freedom. Such behavior not only undermines democratic values but also threatens the fundamental rights of journalists and the public’s right to access information.