An employee on the phone inside the office of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network in Jerusalem on August 7, 2017.
An employee at work in the Jerusalem office of Al-Jazeera on August 7, 2017. Israel said it would close the broadcaster's local bureau during the October 2023 Israel-Gaza conflict. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

CPJ urges Israel not to close Al-Jazeera

New York, October 18, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists urgently calls on Israel not to close the local bureau of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera and to allow the media to report freely on news events in Israel and Gaza during the current conflict.

“We are deeply concerned by Israeli officials’ threats to censor media coverage of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, using vague accusations of harming national morale,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, in Washington, D.C., said on Wednesday. “CPJ urges Israel not to ban Al-Jazeera and to allow journalists to do their jobs. A plurality of media voices is essential in order to hold power to account, especially in times of war.”

Al-Jazeera is one of the few global media outlets with a physical presence both in Gaza and Israel. Launched in 1996, it was the Arab world’s first satellite news channel to offer a range of views outside of regional state-owned media.

In 2017, Israel threatened to close Al-Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau and to expel the broadcaster, accusing the network of inciting violence in its coverage of protests.

In 2022, Al-Jazeera Arabic’s Palestinian American correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank town of Jenin.

Al-Jazeera’s Elie Brakhya and Carmen Joukhadar were among the six journalists wounded in an October 13 strike on southern Lebanon from the direction of Israel, in which Reuters’ videographer Issam Abdallah was killed.

CPJ is investigating and documenting all reports of journalists killed, injured, detained, or missing in the region since the current conflict began on October 7.