Ireland to host informal UNSC meeting on media freedom, Abu Akleh | United Nations News

All 15 members of the UN’s top body are expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Ireland’s permanent representative to the United Nations has said her country will hold an informal meeting of the Security Council to discuss media freedom and shed light on the murder of journalist Al Jazeera. Shireen Abu Akleh.

Geraldine Byrne Nason said on Monday that all 15 members of the Security Council are expected to attend Tuesday’s session that will address media freedom and the safety of journalists. The issue was highlighted by the killing of Abu Akleh on 11 May.

Byrne Nason will chair the meeting, which will be introduced by Irene Khan, United Nations special rapporteur on media freedom, and Jon Williams, media watchdog member, Committee to Protect Journalists summary. An AFP journalist and an Al Jazeera representative will also be present at the session at the UN.

The announcement came after Abu Akleh, 51, a veteran reporter for the Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, was shot and killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Al Jazeera has accused the Israeli military of killing Abu Akleh “in cold blood” and called for an independent investigation.

Witnesses and colleagues at the scene said Israeli forces shot Abu Akleh and wounded another Palestinian journalist.

Initially, the Israeli military and prime minister said Palestinian fighters may have been responsible. It was later said that Abu Akleh might have been mistakenly shot by Israeli army fire.

Last week, Israeli media reported that the Israeli army will not proceed a criminal investigation.

Global condemnation

The killing of Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American and a household name throughout the Arab world, has obtained international condemnation.

Condemnation grew after Israeli forces beat stout men with batons during Abu Akleh’s attack Funeral in Jerusalemcausing them to almost drop her coffin.

On May 13, the Security Council summon for an “immediate, thorough, transparent and fair and objective” investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh and stressed the need to ensure accountability.

Funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh
Israeli police beat mourners and mourners as they carry the coffin of Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral on May 13, 2022 [Maya Levin/AP]

United Nations Office for Human Rights also called for an independent investigation and said the killing could constitute a war crime.

“The killing of Abu Akleh is another serious attack on media freedom and freedom of expression, amid escalating violence in the Occupied West Bank,” speak UN experts on May 13.

UN experts say Abu Akleh’s death comes amid a high rate of attacks against Palestinian journalists and increased violence in the West Bank and occupied Gaza. Last year, experts say, marked the highest number of Palestinian deaths due to confrontations with Israeli forces since 2014.

Under international law, journalists are not targeted and should be protected like civilians.

On the day she was shot, Abu Akleh was wearing a helmet and vest, clearly identifying her as a journalist.

The Doha-based network said the killing of Abu Akleh was “to prevent the media from doing their job”.

On Monday, the Palestinian foreign ministry announced they have formally asked the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into the murder of journalist Al Jazeera.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “Horrified by the murder“.

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