Gaza- During the workshop held to discuss a research paper entitled “The legal education of investigative journalists”, prepared by the Monitoring and Studies Unit at AMAN, the investigative journalists recommended developing a legal manual that focuses on the practical aspects that stem from their experience in the field. AMAN had noticed that the journalists suffer from a knowledge gap in the details of specialized investigative journalism and the best legal standards that regulate their profession, which the investigative journalists must follow in their practice, in addition to a gap in the journalists’ access to legal resources and official sources in Gaza Strip.
The participants agreed on the need to educate investigative journalists and provide them with the training and knowledge about the legal standards of investigative reports. They stressed the need to adopt a scientific approach, use the content of the legal manual at media institutions, cooperate with the Journalists Association to adopt the manual together with the Code of Conduct, motivate young journalists to use the manual and make it available to the media schools at universities as support material for the course on journalism ethics.
AMAN Regional Director in Gaza Strip, Wa’el Ba’alousha, opened the session and identified two approaches towards corruption issues, either through articles, interviews, feature stories and reports, or through a more difficult approach, investigative reports, which unveil facts and support them with evidence and documents. This is the approach that AMAN promotes to expose corruption, as it has always encouraged research papers and investigative reports, and supported journalists through providing them with specialized training and legal counseling, and engaging them in anti-corruption efforts. AMAN also gives has an annual Integrity Award dedicated to the champions of investigative journalism.
AMAN researcher, lawyer Abdullah Sharsharah, explained the legal framework that regulates the work of journalists in Gaza Strip, indicating that “the legislations that regulate the work of investigative journalists are lacking and do not support conducting investigations. The 1995 Print and Publications Law does not provide for assisting the journalists obtain official information from their sources; the Legislative Council failed to enact the Access to Information Law, thus aggravating the legislative crisis. Furthermore, the laws enacted after the division, most notably the Electronic Crimes Law in the West Bank and the amended the Penal Code in Gaza Strip allow for penalizing Journalists if they conduct investigations that annoy the authorities”.