RSF concern over whereabouts of Gazan journalist in Al Shifa hospital siege

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Gazan journalist Bayan Abusultan
Gazan journalist Bayan Abusultan . . . concern for her safety in Al Shifa hospital area. Image: RSF

Pacific Media Watch

The Paris-based global media freedom watchdog RSF (Reporters Without Borders) has appealed for information about the “disappearance” of Palestinian journalist Bayan Abusultan.

She was reportedly last seen on March 19 among people “sequestered” in this week’s raid and siege of Al Shifa hospital by Israeli troops in northern Gaza.

RSF has demanded that the Israeli military “shed light on the disappearance of @BayanPalestine”, her X handle.

On March 19, she posted a message on her X account saying “Israeli forces just murdered my only brother in front of my eyes”.

She has not been heard from since and RSF is investigating.

Meanwhile, to support journalists in the region affected by the war in Gaza, RSF has opened a new press freedom centre in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Following the opening of two centres in Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s large-scale invasion of the country in 2022, this initiative by RSF underlines the organisation’s ongoing commitment to helping information professionals meet the specific challenges they face.

Equipped with internet access, the Beirut centre, a regional hub for the media in the Middle East, will welcome journalists to work there if they wish.

RSF and its local partners will offer training in physical and digital security, particularly for those wishing to travel to Palestine.

Bullet-proof vests
Access to psychological support and legal assistance will also be provided, as well as protective equipment to cover dangerous areas (bullet-proof vests, helmets, first-aid kits, etc.).

“There is a clear and urgent need to support Palestinian journalism and the right to information throughout the Middle East, particularly the parts of the region most affected by the war in Gaza,” said RSF campaign director Rebecca Vincent.

“Drawing on our experience in Ukraine, where we opened two press freedom centres during the war, RSF is launching a regional centre in Beirut dedicated to supporting journalists.

“The centre will provide a crucial space, and essential services to reinforce the safety of journalists working in the region, and to defend press freedom.”

Pacific Media Watch collaborates with RSF.

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