Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for the Arabic-language channel Al Jazeera for 25 years and was a household name across the Middle East for her decades of reporting in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
According to witnesses, Abu Akleh was hit by an Israeli live bullet as she covered an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
"I was able to convey the people's message and voice."
Not long before her killing by Israeli occupation forces, Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh spoke about her career and what it meant to her to report on the occupation. pic.twitter.com/mUTmXJA9cA— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 11, 2022
According to Article 79 of the Geneva Conventions, journalists engaged in professional missions in areas of armed conflict are considered civilians. As such, they may not be targeted. They are protected by their civilian status, on the condition that they refrain from any activity that might jeopardize their civilian status and character.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) is deeply saddened and wishes to lodge the strongest possible protest at her death.
“We note that journalists, acting honestly as the eyes and ears of the public at large, are increasingly being targeted by authoritarian regimes who wish to keep repressive and often murderous actions secret.
“This is a violation of international law that protects them whether it be in a non-international or an international armed conflict,” says Sanef.
The Forum adds that it is gravely concerned that this year alone, more than 16 journalists have been killed in regions ranging from Mexico to Ukraine.
“We also condemn the killing of all the journalists in Ukraine - and we wish to remind all communities around the world that journalists in conflict zones provide the service to the world and their role should be respected,” it says.
Sanef extends its deepest condolences to Abu Akleh’s family, friends, and all colleagues in the industry around the world.