CPJ urges probe in Gaza attack; 8 journalists hurt

Palestinians and local members of the media check the damage at a makeshift camp outside the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza after an Israeli strike on March 31. (Photo: AFP)

The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for an independent investigation into the Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital that injured at least eight journalists on assignment.

On Sunday, March 31, around 11:30 a.m., an Israeli strike hit a tent encampment outside of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. The attack killed four and injured 17, including eight journalists, according to several media reports, and four sources who spoke to CPJ, including two of the injured journalists, another who witnessed the attack, and one who went to the site afterward. The explosion, which witnesses and media reports said was caused by a drone strike, occurred outside the hospital near a journalists’ tent provided by the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

One of the injured journalists, Al-Jazeera photographer Hazem Mazeed, told CPJ that many journalists’ equipment was destroyed in the attacks, including cameras, laptops, and mobile phones – items that are increasingly hard to replace in Gaza.

Mazeed told CPJ that journalists in Gaza see hospitals as a relatively safe place to work, but that recent Israeli attacks on hospitals have shaken their confidence in using them as venues to conduct journalism.

More on the Israel-Gaza war:
Journalist describes 33 harrowing days in Israeli custody
Gaza journalists struggle, ‘expect to die daily’
Full coverage of the war

Russia issues arrest warrant for exiled journalist Mikhail Zygar
CPJ honored Mikhail Zygar, then editor-in-chief of the independent Russian TV station Dozhd, with its 2014 International Press Freedom Award. Here he speaks with The Associated Press in Moscow, January 30, 2014. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Journalist Mikhail Zygar, then editor-in-chief of the independent Russian TV station Dozhd, speaks with The Associated Press in Moscow, in 2014. (Photo: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Russian Ministry of the Interior issued an arrest warrant for Russian journalist and writer Mikhail Zygar according to April 9 media reports. Zygar is a former editor-in-chief of now-exiled Russian broadcaster Dozhd TV (TV Rain) and a CPJ 2014 International Press Freedom Awardee.

On March 13, state news agency RIA Novosti and Telegram channel Baza reported that Zygar was charged with spreading “fake” information about the Russian army. Zygar told CPJ that the arrest warrant for him was based on this specific charge.

The charge against Zygar allegedly stems from a June 2022 post on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte about the massacre in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, according to Baza. If convicted, the journalist, who currently lives outside of Russia, could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the Russian criminal code. Zygar told CPJ that he did not write anything on Vkontakte and does not have an account on the platform.


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Journalists Attacked

Evan Gershkovich

IMPRISONED


Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been imprisoned in Russia since March 29, 2023. Gershkovich has been charged with espionage and is the first American journalist to face such accusations by Russia since the end of the Cold War. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. government have all denied the espionage allegations. On April 11, 2023, the U.S. State Department designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” which unlocked a broad government effort to free him.

CPJ, media organizations, and the U.S. government have repeatedly called for his immediate release.

At least 22 journalists were imprisoned for their work in Russia at the time of CPJ’s 2023 prison census.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally