SANEF condemns the murder of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Akleh
13 May 2022
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is deeply saddened and wishes to lodge the strongest possible protest at the death of Al Jazeera journalist, Shereen Abu Akleh. She was shot dead while reporting in the Jenin refugee camp and she was clearly identified as Press.
Abu Akleh was hit by an Israeli live bullet on Wednesday morning, according to witnesses, as she covered an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for the Arabic-language channel Al Jazeera for 25 years and was a household name across the Middle East for her decades of reporting in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
According to Article 79 of the Geneva Conventions, Journalists engaged in professional missions in areas of armed conflict are considered civilians. As such, they may not be targeted. They are protected by their civilian status, on the condition that they refrain from any activity that might jeopardize their civilian status and character.
We note that journalists, acting honestly as the eyes and ears of the public at large, are increasingly being targeted by authoritarian regimes who wish to keep repressive and often murderous actions secret. This is a violation of international law that protect them whether it be in a non-international or an international armed conflict.