Ramallah, Palestine May 25 – “They attack us because we are witnesses…We will never give up.” That’s how PJS President and IFJ Vice President, Nasser Abu Bakr opened the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) Congress. The hybrid mass event was attended by about 2,000 delegates, half of them attending online from Gaza. Members of the IFJ Executive Committee from Africa, Europe, North and South America also attended as invited guests and to commemorate the life, and targeted assassination of journalist Shireen Abu Aqla one year ago.
In the past 22 years, 54 Journalists have been killed and thousands have been arrested, detained, and wounded by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Media sites have been targeted. The PJS along with the IFJ have filed charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court for targeting journalists and media outlets, a violation of international law.
The delegates also heard from Shireen’s brother Anton, a journalist from Gaza whose brother, also a journalist, was killed by the IDF, IFJ President Dominique Pradalie and IFJ representatives from Somalia and Peru.
The following day our international delegation went to the city of Jenin and rallied and laid flowers at the spot where Shireen was killed. We heard from Shireen’s coworker Ali, who was wounded in the attack, and from the mother of a journalist killed by the IDF.
The bond between the PJS, the IFJ, and all the 150 affiliate unions has only grown stronger in these difficult times for journalists and journalism around the world. We thank the PJS for their extremely generous hospitality and are more committed to press freedom and the public’s right to know.