Murdering The Messengers: CPJ Calls For Accountability After Reports Find Israel Likely Targeted Journalists In Lebanon

Photos: Hassan Ammar\CPJ\YouTube Screenshots

New York, December 7, 2023 — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes Thursday’s release of reports by Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights WatchReuters, and Agence France-Presse (AFP) into the deadly October 13 strike on journalists in southern Lebanon, and reiterates its call for an immediate, independent, and transparent investigation that holds the perpetrators to account.

The investigations by the two human rights groups and the two international wire services found that the attack, which killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injured six others, was likely a deliberate assault by the Israel Defense Forces on civilians, which constitutes a war crime.

The extensively researched reports include witness testimony and analysis of videos, audio, munition remnants, and satellite imagery.

Their findings echo some of those in CPJ’s May 2023 report, which showed a pattern of lethal force by the Israel Defense Forces that left 20 journalists dead over the last 22 years. No one was ever held accountable. CPJ’s report, “Deadly Pattern,” found that the majority of the 20 journalists killed—at least 13—were clearly identified as members of the media or were inside vehicles with press insignia at the time of their deaths.

Since October 7, CPJ has documented the deaths of at least 63 journalists and media workers, making the Israel-Gaza war the deadliest period for journalists covering conflict since CPJ began documenting fatalities in 1992.

CPJ has repeatedly noted that, according to international law, journalists are civilians who must be respected and protected by all warring parties and that deliberately targeting journalists or media infrastructure constitute a war crime.

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