U.S. President Joe Biden gives a statement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 15, 2022. CPJ cautiously welcomed Biden's call for accountability in the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

CPJ cautiously welcomes Biden pledge on investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh’s death; calls for US to address press freedom in Saudi Arabia and Egypt 

Washington, D.C., July 15, 2022 – In response to media reports that President Joe Biden will insist on “a full and transparent accounting” of the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement Friday:

“While CPJ welcomes President Biden’s public call for accountability into the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, we are disappointed that he did not commit to an investigation led by the FBI and that he did not meet with Shireen’s family during his Middle East visit,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “The Biden administration must understand that the campaign to bring real justice for Shireen is not going away and that any perception of indifference towards journalists would be a huge disservice to the human rights the U.S. president claims to cherish.”

Abu Akleh, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arabic, was fatally shot in the head on May 11, 2022, while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank town of Jenin. A U.S. forensic investigation found that the Israel Defense Forces were “likely responsible” for shooting and killing Abu Akleh, but that there was “no reason to believe that this was intentional.” 

CPJ has called on the U.S. to take the lead in a “credible and transparent” investigation into her death and for Biden to call for concrete actions on press freedom – including the release of jailed journalists — as he meets with the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the next leg of his Middle East tour.