New York, July 20, 2017–Israeli authorities should ensure that journalists can cover protests and unrest safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least two journalists were injured on July 18 as police broke up protests in Jerusalem, the local press freedom group Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA) told CPJ.
Mohamed al-Sadeq, a correspondent for online Palestinian news network Jerusalem Media Center, was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet fired by police when security forces ordered a group of journalists to leave a garage where they were hiding from the clashes, and Latifa Abdullatif, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera Mubasher (Al-Jazeera Live), was hit on the back by police wielding batons while she was filming the protests, according to Shireen al-Khatib, from MADA, who has spoken with both journalists. Both journalists said they believe they were targeted because they were filming, al-Khatib said.
The journalists were covering protests over the installation of metal detectors at the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount in Jerusalem after two police officers were shot dead outside the compound on July 14, according to reports.
“Covering a demonstration should not be a dangerous assignment for journalists,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We call on Israeli police officials to investigate the assaults and ensure that all journalists can cover unrest safely and without fear of reprisal.”
Al-Sadeq told MADA that he and a group of other journalists hid in a garage when police started to fire rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse demonstrators, but that officers forced all the reporters out. Al-Sadeq said that as he ran away, while filming the clashes behind him, an Israeli officer shot him in the leg with a rubber bullet, according to the statement and news reports.
Separately, Abdullatif told MADA that two Israeli officers with batons attacked her while she was filming the clashes, leaving her with a bruised back.
Al-Sadeq did not respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent via social media. CPJ was unable to find contact details for Abdullatif.
The Israel Defense Force and Israeli police did not immediately respond to a CPJ email requesting comment.