PEN South Africa’s statement on the targeting of journalists in Gaza

15 Jun 2021
PEN South Africa’s statement on the targeting of journalists in Gaza

It is with a sense of shock and outrage that the board of PEN SA decries the bombing of the Al-Jawhara tower and the Al-Shorouk office buildings  in Gaza City by Israeli forces on May 11th and May 12 2021. The offices of several media houses were damaged in the attack and we understand that at least two Palestinian journalists have been arrested. We especially condemn the killing of journalist Reema Saad, her husband and two children during the attack. Saad was pregnant with her third child.

 Such a vicious use of force can never be justified, particularly when the targets are unarmed journalists and other civilians. History has shown us repeatedly that while the dissemination of news, and the ideas that they give rise to, may be slowed by violence, they can never be stopped. 

Journalists play a critical role in society. At their best, they illuminate issues that might otherwise be overlooked and highlight pathways towards building more just societies. The notion of a free and unfettered press is fundamental to our better nature as humans and to supporting democracy and state accountability. Without it, we risk descending into a brutish existence where the powerful prey remorselessly upon the powerless. 

On this, the eve of Eid, a festival of joy and community, we reiterate our solidarity with all writers and journalists who continue to do their work in the face of state-sponsored oppression. We stand with you.

Signed, the Board of PEN SOUTH AFRICA