Index on Censorship has raised serious concerns about the destruction by Israeli military forces of a building in the Gaza Strip which houses the offices of a number of media organisations.
The building housed the Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera among others but the Israeli military said the building was used by Hamas.
AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement: “We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”
Al Jazeera said it condemned “in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground”.
It said it would pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.
Commenting on the destruction of the building, Index on Censorship CEO Ruth Smeeth said, “Media freedom is a basic human right. The reported targeted destruction of a media building in Gaza is simply unacceptable. We are incredibly saddened by the ongoing violence and appalling deaths in both Israel and Palestine and we urge the international community to facilitate an immediate ceasefire.”