Dozens of international news groups urge Israel to allow Gaza access

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More than 60 news organizations, including some of the world’s largest, signed an open letter Thursday calling on Israel to immediately end restrictions on international media entering and reporting on Gaza.

CNN, the BBC, Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press were among 64 media groups demanding greater access to the enclave that has faced a withering assault by Israel since Hamas’s deadly October 7 assault.

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“We, the undersigned, request that Israeli authorities end immediately the restrictions on foreign media entering Gaza and grant independent access to international news organizations seeking to access the territory,” states the letter, organized by the non-governmental Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Nine months into the war, international reporters are still being denied access to Gaza except for rare and escorted trips arranged by the Israeli military,” it adds.

“This effective ban on foreign reporting has placed an impossible and unreasonable burden on local reporters to document a war through which they are living.”

More than 100 journalists have been killed since the start of the war, and those still covering the situation on the ground in Gaza “are working in conditions of extreme deprivation,” it says.

“The result is that information from Gaza is becoming harder and harder to obtain and that the reporting which does get through is subject to repeated questions over its veracity.”

The news groups include newspapers The Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post, US television networks ABC, CBS and NBC, and outlets in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

They say they “fully understand the inherent risks in reporting from war zones,” and that they have taken such risks for decades to “document developments as they occur.”

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“A free and independent press is the cornerstone of democracy,” they state in the letter.

“We ask that Israel uphold its commitments to press freedom by providing foreign media with immediate, independent access to Gaza, and that Israel abides by its international obligations to protect journalists as civilians.”

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