Resolution in Support of Freedom of the Press in Israel-Gaza War

On November 15, 2023, the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild unanimously passed the following resolution:

Supporting statement:

  • WHEREAS: At least 42 journalists have been killed in the Israeli-Gaza war that began Oct. 7, including 36 Palestinian reporters killed by Israeli airstrikes, according to organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders (RSF);
  • WHEREAS: Nowhere is safe for journalists in the 45-square kilometer Gaza Strip, according to RSF, whether they are in press tents near hospitals, out in the open, or sheltering with family members;
  • WHEREAS: Ten of 36 journalists killed in the Gaza Strip were clearly killed while covering events there and more than 50 media premises have been destroyed or damaged by air strikes, according to RSF;
  • WHEREAS: Journalists in the territory have been killed at a staggering rate of one a day during the conflict, according to the Washington Post;
  • WHEREAS: Article 79 of the Geneva Conventions states that “journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians” and “shall be protected as such under the Conventions”;
  • WHEREAS: The Israeli government has disregarded obligations to protect journalists and gone as far as explicitly threatening the safety of working journalists;
  • WHEREAS: An Israeli government official this month compared journalists to terrorists in a post on X (formerly Twitter) and threatened further violence against media members covering the conflict; that official, Benny Gantz, also claimed without any basis that journalists in Gaza had advance knowledge of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 people;
  • WHEREAS: The Israeli military said last month that it could not guarantee the safety of journalists in Gaza;

Resolved clause:

  • Be it RESOLVED that the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, CWA Local 32035:
    Stands in solidarity with press members in Gaza and Israel and condemns attacks on members and their families;
  • Calls upon governments involved in the conflict to cease threats to media members informing the public about the devastating conflict at great risk to themselves and their families;
  • Calls upon the Biden administration to affirm protections for press freedoms and take steps to protect media members in the region.