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SANEF condemns the murder of Al Jazeera Journalist Shereen Abu Akleh

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is deeply saddened and wishes to lodge the strongest possible protest at the death of Al Jazeera journalist, Shereen Abu Akleh. She was shot dead while reporting in the Jenin refugee camp and she was clearly identified as Press.

Abu Akleh was hit by an Israeli live bullet on Wednesday morning, according to witnesses, as she covered an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for the Arabic-language channel Al Jazeera for 25 years and was a household name across the Middle East for her decades of reporting in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

According to Article 79 of the Geneva Conventions, Journalists engaged in professional missions in areas of armed conflict are considered civilians. As such, they may not be targeted. They are protected by their civilian status, on the condition that they refrain from any activity that might jeopardize their civilian status and character.

We note that journalists, acting honestly as the eyes and ears of the public at large, are increasingly being targeted by authoritarian regimes who wish to keep repressive and often murderous actions secret. This is a violation of international law that protect them whether it be in a non-international or an international armed conflict.

We are gravely concerned that this year alone, more than 16 journalists have been killed in regions ranging from Mexico to Ukraine. We also condemn the killing of all the journalists in Ukraine – and we wish to remind all communities around the world that journalists in conflict zones provide the service to the world and their role should be respected.

SANEF extends its deepest condolences to Abu Akleh’s family, friends, and all colleagues in the industry around the world.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Monica Laganparsad – Acting Secretary-General (082) 578-6111

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Acting Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]