ISTANBUL: The Information Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States called on all international news organisations and media outlets to expose the Israeli occupation’s human rights violations and campaigns against journalists.

In the Final Communique of the one-day Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM) here, the ministers condemn the Israeli occupation’s deliberate and systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists and stress this was part of a campaign to silence the voices of truthtellers.

The ministers also condemn that Israeli occupation forces are unwilling to take even the most basic steps to ensure the safety of journalists, according to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other international instruments that guarantee and protect journalists’ rights.

“Being concerned that Israel, the occupying power, is seeking to conceal and belie the truth about the unfolding atrocities in the Gaza Strip, including murdering babies, children, women, elderly journalists, healthcare workers, academics, and humanitarian workers through, including, by systematic disinformation campaigns.

“Holding Israel, the occupying power, responsible for the killings, arrest and censorship of journalists as well as the murder and targeting their family members,” it said.

The ICIM Extraordinary Session, held here yesterday, was aimed at discussing joint efforts to confront the Israeli occupying authority’s disinformation and hostilities against journalists and media outlets in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A total of 199 participants, from 42 countries, attended the conference organised by OIC, and Turkiye is hosting the conference in its capacity as Chair of the current session of ICIM.

The Malaysian delegation was led by Communications Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Mohamad Fauzi Md Isa, representing Communications Minister, Fahmi Fadzil.

The Final Communique also called on the international community to open an immediate investigation, leading to holding the Israeli occupation authorities accountable for the crimes they commit against media professionals in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The ministers also condemned the Israeli occupation’s systematic misinformation campaigns and spreading of false and misleading information and fake news, to cover its brutality and genocidal massacres committed in the Gaza Strip.

“Emphasise that the international community has the right to know what is happening in the Palestinian territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip, and underline the need for the international community to act immediately to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for violating international law for targeting journalists, and to take immediate steps to protect all journalists assigned in the region,” it said.

The ministers also determined to work collectively and closely at the international level to combat disinformation, and demonstrate a common will to act in solidarity and unison to expose indiscriminate attacks targeting Palestinian civilians, including settler terrorism in the West Bank, which aims to cause forced displacement of the Palestinian people.

“Emphasise our collective determination to counter and expose attempts by the Israeli colonial occupation to cover up the destruction in the field, by intimidating journalists to minimise the international reaction, and to ensure that their efforts to cover up the war crimes and genocide committed in the Gaza Strip fail,” it said.

In addition, the ministers also mandate the OIC General Secretariat’s Media Monitoring Unit to devise a media action plan, in cooperation with OIC media institutions and interested national news agencies of member states, to lay bare and counter the Israeli occupation’s disinformation, misinformation, false news and war crimes, at international fora.

“To provide support for the OIC media Monitoring Unit to organise a media workshop to accomplish its mission, as stipulated by the joint Arab and Islamic Summit held in Riyadh on Nov 11, 2023,” the statement said.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since Oct 7, 2023, killing over 29,000 people and causing mass destruction and shortages of necessities, leading to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. - Bernama

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