Ala Mortaji killed in Gaza as media outlets targetted

January 10, 2009

Ala Mortaji, a radio journalist in Gaza, has died on Friday from wounds sustained when Israeli tanks fired at his home in Zaitoun district of Gaza City,

Mortaji is the third journalist to be killed in the Israeli violence in Gaza, he worked as a radio broadcast personality in Gaza on a local radio show. Medical sources confirmed Ala’s death, and said his mother had her arms amputated after the attack. link

Mortaji becomes the fifth media fatality since the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip began some two weeks ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on the al-Johara Tower, an eight-story building in Gaza City which houses more than 20 international news organizations,

“The Israeli military knows the location of TV facilities houses and news bureaus in Gaza. It is simply unacceptable that working journalists and their offices should come under fire in this way,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Journalists enjoy protections under international law in military campaigns such as the one in Gaza. Israel must cease its attacks on the media immediately.” link

The destruction of these towers puts the “Palestine Media Company, Dubai TV, Al-Alam TV (Iran), Turkish satellite television, the Chinese satellite network, the Lebanon Broadcasting Company (LBC) and Kuwait TV… out of commission.” According to the Maan News Agency, the home of another reporter was also targetted,

The home of another reporter, Samir Khalifah in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, was targeted by Israeli fire, district was badly damaged. The family said they narrowly escaped death, having moved to the lower floor of the home only a few hours before the Israeli attack and were thus able to flee the fire that broke out in the home after it was hit by Israeli bombs. link

Meanwhile the continued ban on foreign journalists entering Gaza “skews coverage of the conflict” according to The Guardian. For more on the ban listen to Frontline Club members Marie Colvin and Jeremy Bowen discuss their frustation sitting at the border in Gaza on the BBC Radio Media Show podcast. Further coverage of the media’s role, or lack thereof, in Gaza take a look at Frontline blogger Daniel Bennett’s most recent posts. And listen to journalist Chris Hedges discuss the media ban on IndyMedia radio in the U.S.

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