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Attacks on independent media are attacks on human rights
09 June 2021

Ramallah- Nisaa FM - Independent media and the distribution of accurate information are the cornerstones of strong democracies. A well-informed population is able to more fully participate in their society. This is a central reason IMS has worked for nearly two decades to help strengthen the capacities of media outlets in countries in transition, conflict or facing human insecurity.

 
It is also why it is difficult to see the recent attacks on media in Palestine and Belarus as anything less than attacks on democracy. The bombings of two separate media houses in Gaza – offices shared by Associated Press and al-Jazeera as well as the building of NAWA, online feminist platform run by IMS partner Filastiniyat – and the forced diversion of a Lithuania-bound plane to Belarus, resulting in the detention of journalist Roman Protasevich, are both extreme manifestations of a repression of freedom of expression.
 
These events have continued to develop quickly. A ceasefire between Israel and Palestine has held thus far, but the attempts to form a new government in Israel bring no guarantees for Palestinians or media operating in Palestine. In Belarus, Protasevich has appeared in state media, having given confessions that appear forced. His case continues to play out at the same time that Belarusian authorities have announced legislative amendments that threaten to eliminate the country’s remaining independent media outlets.
 
The audacity of the attacks by the Israeli and Belarusian authorities underscores that it is not just the free press that is at stake, it is the very human rights of journalists, media workers and the people of their countries that are being threatened. Just as journalists hold power to account, the international community cannot allow these egregious actions to pass without consequence simply because the news cycle has begun to move on.
 
Source: International Media Support.