Reinstate victimised Palestinian journalists’ union leader, says IFJ

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Nasser Abu Bakr
Nasser Abu Bakr at the IFJ congress in 2019 ... union voice for the Palestinian journalists. Image: Fred Moreau de Bellaing/IFJ

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

The International Federation of Journalists has called for the urgent reinstatement of Nasser Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, following his victimisation by the French news agency AFP.

Abu Bakr, who has worked for Agence France-Presse (AFP) for more than 20 years, was sacked without valid reason, in what the IFJ’s leading body has called “a clear case of victimisation for his trade union activities, in contravention of the law and international standards”.

The dismissal came following the agency’s concerns over his strong public defence of the rights of Palestinian journalists in his role as president of the PJS.

Abu Bakr, who is an elected member of the IFJ’s executive committee, had been instrumental in filing complaints about the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs and in documenting and exposing attacks on Palestinian journalists and media.

The IFJ will launch a global campaign to demand justice for Nasser.

Already support has flowed in from public bodies in Palestine, from unions around the world and from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

Journalists in Palestine have staged protests outside the offices of AFP. Unions representing staff at AFP’s headquarters and other offices around the world have pledged their support.

The IFJ has already been in contact with AFP management in Paris.

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The dismissal of Nasser, an elected trade union leader, for nothing more than giving a voice to Palestinian journalists under threat and facing daily attacks is totally unacceptable.

“He must be reinstated.”

12 plus Palestinian journalists arrested
Al Jazeera reports that more than a dozen Palestinian journalists were recently arrested by Israeli authorities after attempting to report the news under often “extremely stressful and dangerous” conditions.

Wahbe Mikkieh, one of the journalists detained and later released, told Al Jazeera the message the Israeli police was trying to send was meant to frighten journalists.

“The occupation forces claimed that I tried to obstruct the arrest of my colleague Zeina [Halawani] and that I assaulted the occupation army. That did not happen,” said Mikkieh, who was hit on the head with the butt of a gun causing him to bleed, describing the five days in prison as the hardest in his life.

Republished from the International Federation of Journalists.

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