Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s death while reporting on an IDF operation in Jenin is a tragedy deserving investigation. Journalistic freedom is vital to any nation that calls itself a democracy. Across our world, there are still many places without free presses and where journalists fear for their lives.
However, Israel is not one of those places. Despite its challenges, Israel’s press remains free. Reporters are free to harshly criticize the government without reservation, take outlets such as Haaretz and +972. Having a broad range of media outlets with different viewpoints is a vital part of a healthy democracy, something the rest of the region lacks. Such is the environment that has enabled Akleh along with many others to thrive for years.
This is why the propaganda surrounding Akleh’s death bothers me so much. Akleh died in the crossfire between the IDF and Palestinian militants. According to experts, both Israeli and Palestinian, it is extraordinarily difficult to tell who fired the fatal shot. Israel proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority (PA), to which the PA refused to cooperate. It is irresponsible to draw conclusions absent an investigation.
Please follow this link to read Matthew Blicher’s latest article as featured in the Times of Israel.