Yesterday, social media was flooded with images, hand-held video recordings and witness testimonies of the unprovoked execution style killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh which also saw another journalist injured after being shot in the back.
Shireen was shot in the face while wearing a press vest and helmet that distinguished her as a member of the press, while on duty and what a heavy price she had paid for at the hands of cold-blooded killers.
The assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh is mourned all over the world and the DAP extends its deepest condolences and stands in solidarity with her family in this most trying time and with journalists all over the world who are risking their lives to bring us the truth.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), this year alone, 5 months into 2022, 17 journalists have been killed while on duty with motives confirmed and 13 journalists with motives not confirmed had been killed in the line of their work.
They were not part of a militia, they did not pick arms to fight a war, they did not enrol in the military, they stood firm amidst the chaos, bombings, pandemonium and war to report to us, by journalists who paid dearly with their lives. 30 men and women had been killed – in crossfires, murders and dangerous assignments this year alone and the numbers are increasing.
Of course this number could only be the tip of the iceberg with countries that are cagey about releasing statistics and data on journalists who perished in their line of duty. The CPJ reports that journalists who have died in their line of duty include 12 from Ukraine, 8 from Mexico, 3 from Haiti, and one journalist each from Chad, Brazil, India, Turkey, Myanmar, Guatemala, and the latest, Shireen Abu Akleh.
Al Jazeera reported that Shireen was standing 150 metres away from Israeli forces and it was an M16 that killed her but pathologist reports state she could have been a metre away. Regardless of this information, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in cold blood and we must ensure that she will be the last to perish in the line of her work.
The death of Shireen Abu Akleh must not go in vain and we as part of the global community must play a more active role in calling for justice for Shireen and other journalists who have died doing what they do best – exposing truth.
DAP calls for an independent and transparent investigation to be carried out and heads must roll in the killing of an unarmed journalist like Shireen Abu Akleh who so valiantly stood firm fearless in her vocation, staring death in her eyes. Journalists and media workers must be protected from threats, violence, and death. Their safety should be an utmost priority and be ensured so that they can operate safely while doing their job, especially those working in conflict zones.
The DAP once again reiterates our stand calling for negotiations, diplomacy, peace and reconciliation in the region where far too many lives have been lost.
Jannie Lasimbang & Kasthuri Patto
Chair & Deputy Chair
DAP International Affairs Department