International journalists call on Israel and Egypt for access to Gaza

Journalists urge governments to allow them into the enclave through the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza.

Palestinians examine the destruction caused by an Israeli strike on residential buildings and a mosque in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on February 22, 2024 [Fatima Shbair/AP]

More than 50 international broadcast journalists have signed an open letter to Egyptian and Israeli authorities to call for “free and unfettered access to Gaza for all foreign media”.

Correspondents and presenters from the main broadcasting outlets in the United States and United Kingdom, including Sky News’s foreign reporter Alex Crawford and BBC international editor Jeremy Bowen, joined the call to demand access to the Gaza Strip.

In the letter, the journalists called on the governments to allow them access to the enclave through the Rafah crossing, which connects Gaza and Egypt.

“We urge the governments of Israel and Egypt to allow free and unfettered access to Gaza for all foreign media,” the letter read.

“We call on the government of Israel to openly state its permission for international journalists to operate in Gaza and for the Egyptian authorities to allow international journalists access to the Rafah Crossing.”

Palestinian man rides a bike among pile of rubble and ash
Most Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced in the current war, which has damaged or destroyed half the buildings in the enclave in less than five months [Omar Qattaa/Anadolu Agency]

Since the war began, only a handful of foreign journalists have been allowed access to Gaza, mostly by being “embedded” with the Israeli army.

In a separate editorial for Sky News laying out the case for journalists to be allowed into Gaza, Crawford explained that the few journalists who have been allowed in were not allowed to speak with Palestinians during the tours.

“This clearly has monumental limitations. We should all question why this is still happening nearly five months on into the most intense bombardment seen in decades, and how that affects understanding of what is going on inside,” Crawford wrote.

Palestinian journalists who have been covering the conflict from Gaza for the past five months have done so under intense Israeli bombardments that have cost many of them their lives.

The Committee to Protect Journalists found that since the war began after the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, at least 99 journalists and media workers have been killed, including 92 Palestinians.

“It’s vital that local journalists’ safety is respected and that their efforts are bolstered by the journalism of members of the international media,” the letter said.

“The need for comprehensive on the ground reporting of the conflict is imperative.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies