National Press Club Honors Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh

Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed on May 11, 2022, while reporting from the West Bank during an Israeli military operation was honored last night at the National Press Club in Washington during the club’s 49th Annual National Press Club Journalism Awards Dinner.

Al Jazeera DC Bureau Chief Abderahim Foukara noted that the shooting of his colleague by the Israeli military illustrated that the world is “rife with impunity” towards journalists and called for justice for Shireen and an end to impunity for those who kill journalists from ever being prosecuted for their crimes. He assured those present that Al Jazeera would pursue those responsible for her killing and would “leave no stone unturned” in order to seek justice for Shireen.

National Press Club President Jen Judson made the presentation of the 2022 President’s Award to Shireen Abu Akleh’s niece Lina Abu Akleh honoring her aunt’s life’s work. During her acceptance speech she noted that her Aunt Shireen was “my best friend, my role model and my source of inspiration” and that to date no one has been held accountable for her killing. “As a US citizen and journalist, we had expected from the U.S. president he would take the case seriously as in similar cases, but we will never relent in bringing justice for Shireen.”

Today a news conference was held at the club with remarks by President Judson who noted that it had been 100 days since the killing of Shireen with no one being held responsible. “That tells the world if you shoot a journalist, it can go unpunished. And if journalists don’t feel protected less will take that risk to shine the light on where it is critically needed.”

Niece Lena Abu Akleh spoke briefly by saying that “No action from the U.S. administration” has taken place for accountability and justice in undertaking an open, transparent and timely investigation. The family has been very frustrated and disappointed at the lack of movement calling for real action in holding the Israeli Army and the solider responsible to be held accountable for the killing of her aunt. She also noted that on World Press Freedom Day this year President Biden specifically called out the plight endured by female journalists in being killed, jailed, raped, threatened, and harassed. “Women journalists, long a minority in the newsroom, are disproportionately targeted, on-and offline, in these attacks.” Inspired by his statement the family wants him to now stand by his words in bringing about a complete and in-depth investigation surrounding her death.

Thus far several investigations into Abu Akleh’s killing have concluded “…the shot that killed Shireen was fired from a position that was controlled by the IDF.” The ever-cautious journalist at the time of her killing was wearing a highly visible bullet proof vest clearly marked PRESS along with a helmet for her personal protection. Many have speculated that her killing was a targeted assassination and with her death she was the 46th Palestinian journalist to have been killed by the Israeli military while reporting since 2000.

Unfortunately, the shooting, jailing and beating of Palestinian journalists in particular, as well as others in Israel, is a fairly common occurrence. Three weeks after the killing of Abu Akleh on June 1 another Palestinian journalist, 31-year-old Ghufran Harun Warasneh, became the 47th to be shot and killed by the Israeli military while being questioned at an Israeli checkpoint at the entrance of the Al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron. Ironically, Warasneh was working on her first assignment for Dream Radio covering the story of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing.

Three members of Congress sent statements that were read at the news conference about the importance of a free press in a democracy and the protection of journalists. Among them was André Carson (D-IN) who related that he has introduced two bills, the stand-alone Justice for Shireen Act that requires the U.S. to investigate Shireen’s death by the Department of State and FBI in consultation with the Department of Defense and National Director of Intelligence. Describing his effort as “…a bare minimum of what she deserves – the truth.”

It was also revealed that Carson is presently working to introduce another bill this Congress, “The Justice for Journalists Act,” to require relevant agencies to report on the death of all American journalists killed in the line of duty. “This fight for answers is unacceptable,” he said in his statement. “Everyone deserves Justice, including Shireen.”

Lastly, President Judson reflected on the club’s desire “…that her (Shireen’s) death will help create a legacy that makes her colleagues safer now and in the future. And we remain committed to efforts that help push for a complete and thorough investigation.”

Photo courtesy: The National Press Club

(This article has previously appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuzeink.)

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Candlelight Vigil for Shireen 

On the sidewalk at the entrance to the National Press Club a large crowd of journalists, Palestinians and their supporters held a candlelight vigil May 17 to honor the memory…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News