Foreign Press Give Accounts of Hamas Intimidation During Gaza Coverage

Foreign Press Give Accounts of Hamas Intimidation During Gaza Coverage

Some journalists from international news outlets have reported being threatened or intimidated by Hamas while reporting from Gaza, reports The Jerusalem Post.

In one example, Indian television station NDTV broadcast a report by Sreenivasan Jain on Tuesday showing rockets being assembled and shot from a tent next to his hotel.

In the text that accompanied the video report on NDTV’s website, Jain wrote that it was published “after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.”

Two days later, Jain published an article on NDTV’s website with the story behind his report, explaining that his team waited days before airing the video clip due to “fear of reprisals from Hamas against us and those who worked with us.” As for intimidation by Hamas, Jain said “there are no easy answers,” and asked the following questions: 

How long do we self-censor because of the fear of personal safety in return for not telling a story that exposes how those launching rockets are putting so many more lives at risk, while the rocket-makers themselves are at a safe distance? More so when we have rare, first hand proof of how it works?

Even those correspondents denying that Hamas restricted their reporting indicated that there were, nevertheless, situational limitations to their Hamas coverage.

On Wednesday, NPR’s Emily Harris denied that her reporting was restricted in any way by Hamas. Still, she added that “for your own safety you might not want to hang out with militants” and that Hamas “called in” Palestinian journalists who work with foreign press if Hamas is not happy with stories being pursued.

The New York Times – which had 37 images in 3 slide shows about the current conflict but not one of a rocket launch or Hamas fighters using civilian areas – told JTA reporter Uriel Heilman that they don’t have any photos of such things. “We are limited by what our photographers have access to,” said a Times representative.

On Sunday, the Government Press Office will hold an event for foreign press meant to battle what it called disinformation coming out of Gaza in which two “distinguished European journalists who returned from Gaza in the last few days will share with us their personal testimonies and their views on what it is like to report from Gaza under Hamas’ close watch.” The testimonies will be off record, meaning journalists attending the event will not be able to report on it – “for obvious reasons,” the GPO invitation reads.