Killing journalists: Qatar expresses ‘deep concern’ over impunity

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli sniper in May but no one has been held accountable.

Deputy foreign minister Lolwah al-Khater underscored the need to work on protecting journalists, especially those who report from conflict zones [File: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency]

Qatar has demanded accountability for the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a conference on the safety of journalists, saying “hold Israel accountable”.

Assistant foreign minister Lolwah al-Khater addressed participants in Vienna, Austria on Friday, expressing “deep concern at the persistence of impunity for violations and crimes committed against journalists”.

“The murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh highlights the fact that protection and prevention methods are only effective when combined with prosecution mechanisms,” al-Khater said.

On May 11, the Palestinian-American television correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic arrived in Jenin in the occupied West Bank to report on a raid by Israeli forces on a refugee camp while wearing a protective vest, clearly marked with “PRESS”.

Abu Akleh, 51, was standing with other journalists when she was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.


“Shireen dedicated her life working to shed light on the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people, she was one of over 45 journalists killed by Israeli forces since 2000,” al-Khater said.

She underscored the need to work on protecting journalists, especially those who report from conflict zones, and “no exceptions are made when we hold those responsible accountable”.

During her speech, al-Khater also shared words from the Abu Akleh family.

“Shireen was targeted while fulfilling her professional duty as a journalist working on covering events and reporting them to the world. She sacrificed her life, and this is another reason that the international community must confront and hold Israel accountable, no matter what,” she quoted a family member as saying.

The conference on November 3 and 4 in Austria’s capital marked the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

In September, Israel said there was a “high possibility” that Abu Akleh was “accidentally hit” by Israeli army fire, but added it would not launch a criminal investigation.

Numerous detailed investigations, including by the United Nations, found Abu Akleh was shot by an Israeli soldier.

Her family has accused Israel of trying to “obscure the truth and avoid responsibility for killing Shireen Abu Akleh”.

Source: Al Jazeera