"I insist that you state that Israel’s actions do not qualify as “targeted killings” but as “extrajudicial assassinations” as a result of which civilians are also killed or injured, in the interests of accuracy and professional ethics."
September 21, 2023
Mark Gollom, Senior Reporter, CBC
Brodie Fenlon, News Editor-in-Chief, CBC
Mari Ito, Managing Editor of Digital Publishing, CBC
George Achi, Director of Journalistic Standards and Public Trust, CBC
Dear Mark Gollom, Brodie Fenlon, Mari Ito and George Achi,
I’m writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concern regarding your September 20 article, “What does international law say about targeted killings?”
Overall, the article did a fine job of outlining relevant international laws for a general audience. However, your description of one issue is inaccurate and troubling. You write:
“Israel too has acknowledged targeting Palestinian militants, mostly through drone or airstrikes.”
Israel’s so-called “targeted killings” are a poor example, as the Israeli military has applied the term in multiple cases where civilians are also killed. This sentence presents Israel’s actions as a result of a symmetrical conflict where they can be justifiable and obscures the fact that Israel is an illegal occupying power where Palestinians have a right to resist.[i][ii][iii]
Therefore, according to the International Press Institute (IPI), assassination is the best alternative “to describe the killing of a member of one of the armed Palestinian factions by the Israeli army.”[iv] To respect its journalistic obligations, CBC should refrain from using such misleading language and be more accurate and clearer when giving an example.
I insist that you state that Israel’s actions do not qualify as “targeted killings” but as “extrajudicial assassinations” as a result of which civilians are also killed or injured, in the interests of accuracy and professional ethics.
Israel’s occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people already constitutes a deeply unequal and asymmetrical situation, and as journalists, you should avoid replicating this asymmetry in your reporting.
Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] UNGA resolution 3314, “Definition of Aggression,” December 14, 1974.
[ii] UNGA resolution 37/43, “Importance of the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination and of the speedy granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights,” December 3, 1982.
[iii] Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), June 8, 1977.
[iv] Alison Bethel McKenzie, Naomi Hunt, Gunes Yildiz and Lucy Cripps, “Use With Care A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, IPI, https://ipi.media/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/UseWithCare_ebook.pdf