Bullyboys and haters of the truth force journalists -their families and friends – to relocate for their own safety

Posted: 1 May, 2024 | Category: Uncategorized

Broadcaster Peter Sharp reporting from Heroes Acre on the edge of Harare, Zimbabwe soon after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in April 1980. Political  thugs do all they can to silence voices that speak truth to power. This is  the sort of picture they don’t want to see in the newspapers in their own terror-struck countries. (Picture: Trevor Grundy)


by Trevor Grundy


Ahead of World Press Freedom Day on Friday, May 3 (2024) the BBC announced for the first time that over 300 World Service journalists – around 15 percent of the total – are working in exile.

The new figure was announced at World Service Presents, a three-day series of events highlighting the world of journalists around the world, and the state of media freedom globally.

A statement issued by the BBC said: “Journalists are facing increasing pressure, including state interference, harassment and criminal charges which are consistently used to attempt to undermine their work.”

Staff at BBC New Persian have been working in exile for over a decade and continue to face harassment and persecution.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, BBC News Russian journalists and their families were moved out of Moscow to the Latvian  capital of Riga.

The BBC statement said that 39 BBC staff remain in Riga continuing the work of reporting independent and impartial news to audiences around the world in Russian.

The out-going Director of the BBC World Service, the Lebanese British journalist Liliane Landor said : “Press freedom is under increasingly intense pressure at a time when millions, voting in elections around the world, need to be well-informed of the choices ahead of them. The BBC news services are blocked or difficult to access in many countries including China, Russia and Afghanistan. Our journalists face on-going harassment and persecution from countries such as Iran and Russia to name but two.”

The BBC World Service describes itself as “the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster.”

The BBC World Service reaches 318 million people weekly around the globe across 42 language services.

The BBC statement made no mention of the worsening situation in Gaza.

Since the start of the latest war between Israel and Gaza, 97 journalists and media workers have been killed. Ninety-two were Palestinians, two were Israeli, there Lebanese.

At least 250 humanitarian personnel have been killed in Gaza since the attack by Hamas on Israeli teenagers on October 7 last year.

Israel boats that it is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East.

But on Sunday May 5, 2024, Benjamin Netanyahu’ cabinet voted to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations inside Israel.

Last month, the Knesset passed a law allowing the temporary closure of foreign broadcasts that were considered a threat to national security.

Earlier, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the  International Federation of Journalists  (IFJ) warned against the closure of Al Jazeera and other international media outlets.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ secretary-general, said days before the official ban: ” The prime minster’s intention to ban Al Jazeera will be a serious blow to media pluralism and the public’s right to know. We urge the Israeli government not to close the Jerusalem bureau of Al Jazeera or any foreign media in Israel and to stop using the ‘national security’ as an excuse to censor critical media. The actions of the Israeli government are unfitting of a democracy.”



A BBC World News report said on  Sunday May 5, 2024:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Al Jazeera is to be shut down in Israel.

Mr Netanyahu accused the Qatari-owned network of “incitement” and said the cabinet decision had been unanimous.

Al Jazeera condemned the move as “criminal”.

Foreign journalists are banned from entering Gaza and Al Jazeera staff there have been some of the only reporters on the ground.

For years, Israeli officials have accused the network of anti-Israeli bias.

But their criticisms of the broadcaster have intensified since the Hamas attacks on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage. 128 of those hostages are still unaccounted for – and among them, at least 34 are presumed dead.

At least 34,683 Palestinians have been killed and 78,018 injured in Gaza since 7 October, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Authorities say Al Jazeera has close links with Hamas, which the network vehemently denies.

Last month, the Israeli parliament passed a law giving the government the power to temporarily close foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security during the war against Hamas.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said the ban “will go into effect immediately”.

It needs to be recertified every 45 days.

According to the temporary order, it could also result in the closure of offices, removal of its website and seizure of equipment.

Qatar, where Al Jazeera is headquartered, is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas over the now almost seven-month long conflict. Previous negotiations mediated by Qatar led to a temporary ceasefire and the release of 105 Israeli hostages.

The channel has accused Israel of deliberately targeting its staff.

Journalists including Hamza Al-Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh, have been killed by Israeli strikes. Israel denies targeting journalists.

“Israel’s suppression of free press to cover up its crimes by killing and arresting journalists has not deterred us from performing our duty,” the network said in its response after Sunday’s ban.


Trevor Grundy is a life member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)  and a member of the Commonwealth Journalists Association  (CJA)