JERUSALEM Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Israeli military’s YouTube site is using ‘pirated’ footage confiscated from journalists on board a Turkish vessel in a bid to defend its botched flotilla raid, a press body charged on Thursday.
“The Foreign Press Association (FPA) strongly condemns the use of photos and video material shot by foreign journalists, now being put out by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) spokesman’s office as ‘captured material’,” a statement from the organization said.
The complaint centers on footage shot on board the Mavi Marmara passenger ship, which was the focus of a deadly Israeli commando raid at dawn Monday, in which nine foreign aid activists were killed, provoking an international outcry.
One of the clips on YouTube, entitled: “Flotilla Passenger: I Want to Be a Shahid (Martyr)” shows a passenger being interviewed on the boat before the raid, by someone holding a microphone with ‘Press TV’ stamped on it.
The 23-second clip, in which the man talks about wanting to become a martyr, is not credited to any journalist or media outlet, and only described as “footage captured on the Gaza flotilla.”
Several other unattributed clips shown on the IDF’s YouTube channel also feature “footage captured on the Mavi Marmara” — one of which shows activists hurling objects and hosing down troops trying to board the vessel from an assault craft.
“The material and/or equipment that was confiscated from journalists covering the events on the ships, should be returned to the owners and their media organizations,” the FPA said.
“The use of this material without permission from the relevant media organizations is a clear violation of journalistic ethics and unacceptable,” it said, warning media outlets to treat such material “with caution.”
“We call upon the authorities to immediately clarify the source of the material.”
The army had no immediate comment on the exact source of the footage, with a spokesman saying only it was “found” on board the Marmara after it was taken over by troops following the bloody operation.
Nearly 700 passengers were travelling on board the aid fleet, of which around 60 were journalists, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said earlier this week, including correspondents from Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Since Monday, the army has broadcast more than a dozen video clips on YouTube in a bid to back up its claim that the activists on the boat were not harmless peaceniks but Islamists bent on violence.