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76 Journalists Aboard Gaza Flotilla Released

JERUSALEM—Dozens of international journalists and media workers being held in an Israeli jail were expected to be released by Wednesday evening, local time. Thirty-eight of them were from Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Pakistan, and the U.K. The other 38 were Turkish.

Some were identified by the companies they work for and others by their professional associations or groups.

The lone Pakistani reporter was from Aaj TV, and Greece had staff from a media group called Skai.

The National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ), which worked tirelessly to secure the release of the journalists, expressed some doubts over the credentials of two of the Turkish nationals.

According to Danny Zaken of the NFIJ, two of the journalists with press cards are also activists in leftist organizations

Angelo Lano from Italy and Mario Giovanni from Germany are considered journalists/activists. Among the Turks, at least 3 are writing for Islamic organizations’ papers.

“I must say that I’m not sure that some of them are [journalists],” said Zaken on Tuesday, adding that he helped work for the release of all 76 people identified as journalists regardless of other affiliations.

Zaken added that when the journalists from four Turkish TV stations, a newspaper, and Al Jazeera get home they will likely “tell their own truth” about events with the flotilla.

Even with the large group of journalists still in custody, he said the play in the media so far has been unprecedented.

“This is one of the worst media wars we [have] had,” said Zaken.

The Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) worked closely with the NFIJ over the past several days to get information about the reporters in custody.

Marc Gruber, director of the European Federation of Journalists said by telephone from the IFJ office that reporters should have never been detained in the first place.

“They should have never have been arrested as journalists,” said Gruber. “Journalists should have been released immediately, and material not taken.”

It is not known yet whether any audio or visual material recorded by the journalists in the flotilla has been seized by the Israeli government.

According to Gruber, the only direct connection any of the journalists has had with the outside world in the past two days was one SMS text message from a Turkish national on Monday. The message, which went to a media company in Turkey, said that the reporters were all safe.

Originally reported by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times



Genevieve Belmaker

Genevieve Belmaker is a freelance journalist and contributing editor with The Epoch Times ( She also contributes to Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists and Her blog on journalism is

Genevieve has traveled throughout the U.S., Asia, Central America, Israel and the West Bank for reporting assignments, including major investigative reports on the recovery of New Orleans, the encroaching presence of China in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the dangerous import of melamine-contaminated milk into the U.S. and settlement outposts in the West Bank. She regularly reports on issues related to journalism, and the work of journalists.

She holds a BA from the University of Southern California in International Relations, and has been a member of several prominent national and international professional media organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the New York Press Club, and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She lives in Jerusalem, Israel with her husband and son.

Areas of Focus:
New Media; Journalism; Culture and Society