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Execs protest Gaza media ban

Top media executives are protesting Israel’s decision to prevent journalists from entering the Gaza Strip.

The letter of protest filed with Israel’s prime minister Wednesday was signed by leaders of news outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and CNN.

“We are gravely concerned about the prolonged and unprecedented denial of access to the Gaza Strip for the international media,” the letter said. “We would welcome an assurance that access to Gaza for international journalists will be restored immediately in the spirit of Israel’s long-standing commitment to a free press.”

When Israel closed its border crossings with Gaza two weeks ago amid an escalation of Hamas-launched rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals — except in the case of extreme humanitarian need — it also kept journalists out of the strip. Journalists are not being singled out but are prevented by the security situation from going in, just like anyone else, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev told the A.P.

Israeli journalists have been banned from entering Gaza, out of a fear for their safety, for a long time.

A handful of foreign journalists who were inside Gaza when the closure took effect remain there covering the situation along with local Palestinian staff workers.

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