The Free Press Forum (Chairman Park Jung kyu) issued a statement on the 1st calling for an end to attacks on journalists around the world. The following is the full text of the statement.
Attacks on journalists around the world have exceeded the level of danger.
Since January 2023, 37 journalists have died during their reporting activities around the world, according to a tally by the Reporters Without Borders (RAF). The number of journalists detained exceeded 500.
The history of the world has developed as mankind reflects on the basis of accurate truth and establishes a new system for the freedom of the world.
Humanity was able to drive out totalitarianism with the truth of Hitler's mass murder of 6 million Jews during World War II.
History does not necessarily go in the opposite direction toward power and freedom. When a leader or political group addicted to power or distorted nationalism takes power, the behavior of turning the wheel of history upside down with irrational judgment is still taking place everywhere today.
However, even in this process, journalists silently protect the scene and dig up and inform the truth, which is the basis of hope like Silver Lining behind dark clouds.
It is deplorable that reporters recording the truth in the middle of the battlefield are perceived as "being to be disappeared" from the standpoint of political leaders and the military who are waging war.
In May, a war correspondent from AFP was killed in a rocket attack near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
On the battlefield in Zaporizhzhia, southern Ukraine, a Russian war correspondent was killed and three others were seriously wounded in July. They were traveling east of the town of Vasiliuka in a civilian vehicle when they were shelled by cluster bombs.
The recent Israeli-Hamas war has also revealed circumstantial evidence that it deliberately attacked journalists.
Reporters Without Borders raised suspicions of targeted attacks, saying that the Israeli military targeted and attacked foreign journalists who were covering the war scene.
The group said on the 13th that it confirmed that two rounds of shelling were conducted from the Israeli border to reporters who were covering the border between Israel and Lebanon. After requesting a ballistic missile expert to analyze the video taken at the scene, it was confirmed that the shell flew from the east, the direction of the Israeli border.
At that time, the reporters were covering for more than an hour on a hill with open view, wearing helmets and bulletproof vests written "Press." There was no possibility of being mistaken for a fighter as even a cover vehicle with PRESS (press) written on it was parked nearby.
However, given that the attacks were conducted twice at short intervals of 37 to 38 seconds, and that Israeli military helicopters passed the reporters' locations twice before the attacks took place, it is also unlikely that the Israeli military did not see them.
At that time, there were a total of six reporters from Reuters, Al Jazeera, and Afpe, while Reuters photographer Isam Abdallah, 37, died at the scene, and correspondent Christina Asiafpe was seriously injured. The rest of the reporters were also seriously injured in the explosion.
The fact that journalists such as Julian Assange, who revealed the truth during the U.S. war in Iraq as well as war reporters, are detained shows how the world is suppressing journalists today to hide the truth.
It is difficult to expect the development of history without 'freedom of speech'. There is an urgent need for special measures to ensure free coverage and reporting activities of journalists.
/ Park Jung-kyu, Chairman of Free Press Forum (WikiLeaks Korea Representative)