TRT Arabi reporter Reba Khalid al-Ajami

TRT Arabi reporter Reba Khalid al-Ajami reports from Gaza amid ongoing Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on February 29, 2024.

(Photo: Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Pulitzer Snubs Palestinian Journalists' Gaza Coverage

The Pulitzer Prize Board avoided "naming the brave Palestinian journalists who did the reporting and filming and died in record numbers," said one journalist.

In recent years, the Pulitzer Prize Board has given special recognition to the journalists of Ukraine and Afghanistan for reporting from war zones, honoring their "courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting" and their ability to tell their communities' stories under "profoundly tragic and complicated circumstances."

On Monday, no such recognition was given to Palestinian reporters in Gaza, at least 92 of whom have been among more than 34,000 Palestinians killed in the enclave since Israel began its bombardment in October.

The annual journalism and literature awards included a special citation for "journalists and media workers covering the war in Gaza"—but didn't differentiate between those around the world who have spent the last seven months telling the story of Israel's escalation from the safety of far-off countries, and those struggling to report on the destruction of their own home under the constant threat of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacks.

"The missing word is—is always—Palestinian," said Writers Against the War on Gaza (WAWOG). "Palestinian journalists and media workers deserve, if nothing else, this recognition; and half of them are dead."

Public health writer Abdullah Shihipar noted that in 2022, the board awarded the special citation to the "journalists of Ukraine." In 2021, it recognized "women and men of Afghanistan," saying that from "staff and freelance correspondents to interpreters to drivers to hosts, courageous Afghan residents helped produce Pulitzer-winning and Pulitzer-worthy images and stories."

This year, said Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill, giving a special citation to "'media workers covering the war in Gaza' is a way to avoid naming the brave Palestinian journalists who did the reporting and filming and died in record numbers."

Many of those killed, Scahill added, might not have been had it not been for U.S.-made weapons sold to Israel.

The Pulitzer Prize for international reporting was awarded to The New York Times "for its wide-ranging and revelatory coverage of Hamas' lethal attack in southern Israel on October 7, Israel's intelligence failures, and the Israeli military's sweeping, deadly response in Gaza."

One of the Times' most explosive articles about Israel and Gaza, "Screams Without Words," about the alleged sexual assaults of Israeli victims of the October 7 attack, was not among those submitted for consideration. The article has come under scrutiny because of the anti-Palestinian bias expressed by one of the freelance reporters who worked on it, and questions about its veracity.

WAWOG, which has started a website titledThe New York War Crimes, posted on social media that the Times should have instead been awarded the Pulitzer for "manufacturing consent."

By honoring the Times for its international reporting this year, said City University of New York sociology professor Heba Gowayed, the Pulitzer Prize "lost any credibility it ever had."

The prize is administered by Columbia University, where students have been protesting for weeks against U.S. support for the IDF and against the school's investment in companies that contract with Israel.

Last week, the university called on the New York Police Department to forcibly remove student protesters from a school building; police told student journalists they would be arrested if they left Pulitzer Hall to report on the incident. Student journalists are reportedly still being barred from campus.

Columbia, said Jack Mirkinson of The Nation, announced the Pulitzers "at the exact same time it is clamping down on the press freedom of its own students. You couldn't make it up."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.