UN chief demands Israel allow foreign journalists to enter Gaza, says situation enables ‘false narratives’ to flourish

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, at the foreign ministry headquarters in the Egypt's New Administrative Capital, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, at the foreign ministry headquarters in the Egypt's New Administrative Capital, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls for Israel to allow foreign journalists to enter the Gaza Strip, claiming that an “information war” is worsening the impact of the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Denying international journalists entry into Gaza is allowing disinformation and false narratives to flourish,” he writes on X, formerly Twitter.

His statement coincides with a statement from the Foreign Press Association, which assists foreign reporters covering events in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, in which it calls for Israel to allow foreign press to return to enter the Palestinian enclave.

“The barring of independent press access to a war zone for this long is unprecedented for Israel,” the statement reads. “It raises questions about what Israel does not want international journalists to see.”

“The decision whether to be on the ground in Gaza should be up to each individual international media outlet,” FPA adds. “The blanket ban has limited the world’s ability to witness the true cost of the war to all sides.”

In January, the High Court ruled that Israel could continue barring foreign journalists from accessing the Strip, citing ongoing security concerns after months in which only Gazans or correspondents accompanied by the army have been able to report from the enclave.

In their ruling, High Court justices Ruth Ronen, Khaled Kabub, and Daphne Barak-Erez accepted the Defense Ministry’s stance that the escorted tours provided an appropriate measure of press freedom given “extreme security concerns at this time and concrete security threats that go with approving entry permits for independent journalists.”

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