SHIEREEN AND FRANCISCA MARTYRS OF THEIR WORK

Two murders in two very distant places, but united in the pain and impotence of the murder of two journalists Shireen Abu Akleh and Francisca Sandoval whose only crime was to tell the truth, one in Israel, the other in Chile. 

Both murders constitute a crime against the press and humanity: Palestinian journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh, correspondent for Al Jazeera was directly and deliberately murdered while on assignment covering the incursion of Israeli forces into the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday 11 May 2022. Her colleague, Ali Alsamuda, was also shot in the shoulder by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, Francisca Sandoval, a young Chilean journalist and reporter for the community television channel Señal 3 La Victoria, was shot while reporting on a May Day demonstration in the centre of Santiago de Chile. Taken to hospital in an irreversible coma, Francisca died on 12 May, becoming the first reporter to be killed in the line of duty in Chile since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

In neither case can there be any question of a “mistake”. The Al Jazeera reporter was wearing a special bulletproof vest with the word “press” on it, as well as a helmet, but the facts show that the targeting of journalists explicitly and directly is a systematic policy adopted by Israeli forces to prevent them from revealing the horrific crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.

Francisca’s case is different, as it involves the shooting of common criminals, but the political matrix of the murder and the negligence of the police institutions is evident. In a statement, the National Association of Women Journalists of Chile (ANMPE) calls on “the government to urgently safeguard the safety of journalists and the press on the ground”, because,  “we cannot allow a journalist to be murdered in our country”. 

REPRESSION EVEN AT SHIREEN’S FUNERAL

Israeli forces attacked participants at Shireen’s funeral, which was condemned by the world, and which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called “shocking” and demanded a transparent investigation. “The use of force by Israeli forces, which was filmed and broadcast live, was probably unnecessary, and must be investigated promptly and transparently,” Bachelet said in a statement.

During 2021, the Palestinian Center for Freedom and Development documented more than 368 violations against journalists, including155 direct violations, including injuries and deaths, including the killing of three journalists during the assault on the Gaza Strip.

The death toll of journalists this year has been increasing. The war in Ukraine has so far left 21 professionals dead.  However, it is Mexico that holds the sad primacy: 11 journalists of both sexes have been killed so far this year. The latest victims were Yessenia Mollinedo and Sheila García Olivera in Veracruz, and a few days earlier Luis Enrique Ramírez in Culiacán.

A worldwide mobilisation and constant attention is urgently needed to stop this real massacre of professionals whose only crime is to tell the truth.

 

 

Alaa Karajah,  AMMPE Palestine                                                   Patricia Mayorga,  AMMPE WORLD President