International journalists were reportedly welcomed into Gaza with threats and harassment as they attempted to cover news stories.
Journalists working in the Gaza Strip are said to have been the target of threats from terror group Hamas in an effort to silence any anti-Hamas demonstrations.
The pressure and threats used by Hamas ultimately led to strong protests by The Foreign Press Association (FPA) on Monday.
According to Israel National News, the FPA strongly condemned Hamas’s treatment of journalists and stated: “The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”
They added, “The international media are not advocacy organizations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.”
One such case involved a photographer allegedly being beaten up and having his camera smashed. Hamas also reportedly pressured reporters to remove Youtube videos and all sorts of social media posts.
Those threatened with punishment for exposing the abuse of civilians were hesitant to publicly share their stories, knowing the consequences if they do.
In addition, the FPA opposed “a ‘vetting’ procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists.” Hamas requested from numerous news organizations the names of journalists and their translators, their company, and contact details.
Those who failed to comply with Hamas’s standards of reporting were sent out of Gaza.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Paul T. Jørgensen of Norway’s TV2 reported on Sunday that “several foreign journalists have been kicked out of Gaza because Hamas does not like what they wrote or said.” Jørgensen added, “We have received strict orders that if we record that Hamas fires rockets or that they shoot, we will face serious problems and be expelled from Gaza.”
Some reports backed up Israeli claims that Hamas attacks were intentionally carried out from within densely-populated civilian areas. These international reports show Hamas terrorists launching rockets in the middle of a crowded residential area, near a hotel where reporters were staying.
Once journalists were out of Gaza and away from risk of pressure and intimidation, they were able to release these news reports.