🔴 CPJ’s 2023 prison census shows that Israel is among top jailers of journalists worldwide, as imprisonments globally continue unabated.
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) January 18, 2024
In October, when the Israel-Gaza war began, Alaa al-Rimawi snapped into action, covering developments on J-Media, the West Bank-based news agency he directs, as well as on TikTok and Facebook. But his conflict coverage would be short-lived. Less than two weeks after the start of the war, Israel banned J-Media on security grounds and quickly arrested three other J-Media employees. On October 19, al-Rimawi met the same fate. He was undergoing a medical examination at a hospital when Israeli forces raided his home in Ramallah, detaining his son to pressure al-Rimawi to turn himself in. Later that day, al-Rimawi surrendered himself at nearby Ofer Prison.
“As you know, the occupation, in time of its war on Gaza, now wants the journalistic and media voice to be absent,” al-Rimawi said to his more than 229,000 TikTok followers before he reported to prison. “I apologize, I apologize because I may not be with you in this coverage and convey your pain, wounds, and victory, with God’s help.”
Al-Rimawi is one of 17 Palestinian journalists held by Israel in CPJ’s most recent prison census, which provides a worldwide snapshot of journalists behind bars on December 1, 2023. There are no Israeli journalists on the list, nor is anyone held by Palestinian authorities. This is the highest number of media arrests in Israel and the Palestinian territories since CPJ began tracking imprisonments in 1992. (The prior record was in 2016, when Israel held seven Palestinian journalists, and in 2011, when Israel held four Palestinian journalists and Hamas held three.) By contrast, there was just one Palestinian journalist in Israeli custody at the time of CPJ’s previous census. Globally, Israel is now the sixth worst jailer of journalists, tied with Iran. [Continue reading…]