The Paris-based Reporters Without Frontiers has condemned efforts by the Israeli military to censor reports from broadcast and print journalists who were aboard a flotilla carrying supplies to the Gaza strip. While those aboard the flotilla claimed it was only transporting humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Gaza population, Israel claimed that it was also carrying weapons. Using satellite equipment, some journalists were able to get reports out from aboard the ships while the assault was in progress. "Hundreds of Israeli soldiers attacked the flotilla and the captain of our boat is seriously injured," a reporter for al-Jazeera said before his communications with the Arab news network were cut off. Al-Jazeera reported today (Tuesday) that it has lost contact with all seven of its reporters aboard the flotilla. Reporters Without Frontiers claimed that two Bulgarian TV journalists were arrested and that an anchor for a Pakistani TV network has not been heard from. The Sydney Morning Herald said that a reporter and photographer that it had assigned to the flotilla had been removed and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod. "The Israeli authorities have forbidden all the journalists to enter the Gaza Strip," Reporters Without Frontiers said. It condemned Israeli authorities for putting working journalists "in harm's way by this disproportionate reaction" and called for the release of the detained reporters.

01/06/2010