The Israeli Journalists Association on Saturday penned a letter to the IDF Chief of Staff demanding an investigation into the death of a Palestinian journalist killed while covering Friday's protests in Gaza.
Yasser Murtaja, 31, a photojournalist from Gaza, was shot and killed by IDF live fire while wearing a 'Press' vest.
The letter noted that in addition to Murtaja's death, 5 other journalists were wounded while covering the events, according to various sources.
"We are convinced the IDF shares the values of democracy, including the importance of freedom of the press, and that journalists from every nation are in conflict zones to report what is going on, and that the army of a democratic state is not supposed to harm journalists who are doing their work," the letter read.
"We ask you to investigate whether reports that IDF soldiers fired at the journalists are correct and, if the answer is yes, we want to know how you intend to respond to these acts."
According to Freedom House, which monitors levels of press and internet freedom throughout the world, the Israeli press is "partly free," having been lowered in 2017 from "free." The monitoring group cited the increasing circulation of the free daily Israel Hayom
, which is often seen as a mouthpiece for the prime minister. The use of gag orders and military censorship have also played a significant role in the country's demotion of press freedom.
The IDF announced on Friday that it was looking into the incident and stated flatly that the IDF "does not shoot journalists." Neither the IDF Spokesperson nor the Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, have responded to the Journalists Association's letter.
Some 20,000 people participated in Friday's protests on the Gaza border
. According to Palestinian medical officials, over 1000 people were wounded and 10 people were killed, including 2 minors.
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