Exploited in Palestine

WE CAN as a union branch work against the terrible exploitation of Palestinian journalists by Western news agencies, even if there's not much we can do about the conflict in Palestine as a whole. That was the conclusion of July's London Freelance Branch meeting, following a showing by Pennie Quinton of video of her interviews with journalists there. She did these as part of her work with Warwick University's Business School to research how journalists local to conflict zones around the world - as against parachuted-in correspondents - stay resilient and keep on and working.

Pennie Quinton (in silhouette) shows the Branch her interview with Palestinian journalist Osama Silwadi - photo © Daniele Bora
Pennie Quinton (in silhouette) shows the Branch her interview with Palestinian journalist Osama Silwadi, who now runs a photo agency from a wheelchair, having been paralysed, apparently accidentally, when he went to close his office window during a demonstration where militia were firing in the air. He described emotionally how his European clients abandoned him.

Members heard about the case of Mohammad Omer, who was detained and beaten as he returned from accepting the Martha Gelhorn Award for his reporting on www.rafahtoday.org of life in Gaza - and we will be following up this case. We saw moving footage of Palestinian journalists covering an Israeli armed forces incursion into the West Bank city of Ramallah, during which a young videographer who had declined a flak jacket was shot and seriously wounded. The Branch meeting resolved to offer journalists working in Palestine support when they have trade disputes with UK and European publishers and broadcasters or suffer harm while working for these and to gather information from journalists working in Palestine on what further practical support would be of most help to them, within the capabilities of the Branch and the Union, reporting to the September meeting.

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