Media freedom violations in Palestine during August 2013
MADA: The events in Egypt reflected negatively on media freedoms in Palestine during last August
August 2013 witnessed a clear deterioration in the status of media freedoms in Palestine, where the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored many violations against journalists, especially by Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Israeli occupation forces IOF continued its policy of arresting Palestinian journalists, and arrested two journalists last month, and they remain in detention in Israeli jails.
The current events in Egypt had a negative impact on media freedoms in Palestine, due to the different positions of Hamas and Fatah on what is happening there. In the West Bank, the security services prevented journalists from covering two Hamas solidarity sit-ins to protest the events in Rabaa Adawiya and Alnahda in Egypt, while the internal security services in Gaza committed numerous violations against journalists for expressing their opinion on what is happening in Egypt.
In addition, a new movement calling themselves "rebel’s against injustice in Gaza," has sparked along the lines of the rebel movement in Egypt, has called for mass demonstrations on November 11th 2013 against the control of Hamas in Gaza. It provoked the internal security in Gaza , so journalists were arrested and interrogated by internal security about this movement, some facebook activists were detained as well for their support for this rebel movement.
MADA is concerned about the escalation of threats on journalists by unknown assailants. The reporter in Al ayyam newspaper Naila Khalil was threatened by anonymous during her presence in one of the restaurants in Ramallah, also presenter on Mazaj Radio Nael Manasra was threatened by anonymous after he discussed the increase in prices on one of his broadcasted episodes. Mean while Palestinian Public TV reporter Rania Alhamdallah was exposed to a defamation campaign by unknown assailants via social networks.
The Palestinian Violations:
Hamas Internal Security detained the Palestinian network correspondent Abdullah Obeid (20 years old) and Karbala Iraqi channel correspondent Amjad Yagi (23 years old), during their coverage of the solidarity event with the Negev Bedouin in the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza city, on Thursday, August 1st 2013, and they were released after about two hours.
Hamas Internal Security called the director of the Arab’s Alghad channel Saif al-Din Shahin for investigation on August 26th 2013, for hosting a member of the Gaza rebel movement.
The public prosecutor in Gaza summoned the writer Talal Al-Sharif for investigation, August 6th 2013, for writing a critical article on the Hamas government. In addition Hamas Ministry of Interior in Gaza issued a decision to arrest the writer Yahya Rabah if he returns to Gaza, for writing an article on the events in Egypt, entitled "Long live Egypt", which he published on his Facebook page.
In the West Bank, Bethlehem’s Governor Abdel Fattah Hamayel attacked verbally the Director of Radio Bethlehem 2000 George Canawati, and tried to prevent him from attending and covering a concert for Syrian singer Asala Nasri within the festival " Solomon's Pools nights" in the city of Bethlehem, on the evening of Saturday, 10th August 2013.
While the Palestinian police detained Watan Agency correspondent Hamza Salaymeh during filming a brawl that broke out between citizens and members of the security forces in Ramallah, on Sunday11th August 2013.
The security services in the city of Hebron prevented journalists from covering a Hamas movement protest that started after Friday prayers from the Hussein mosque on 16th August 2013, to protest the Egyptian army actions against the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa Adaweya and Alnahda. They also prevented journalists from covering the Hamas solidarity protest for the same previous purpose on Friday 23rd August 2013, in front of Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque in Al-Bireh city.
Israeli occupation forces IOF attacked a group of journalists while covering a protest near the Hizma barrier in solidarity with the Bedouin in the Negev and against "Bravar plans" which was approved by the Israeli government to seize their land, on Thursday August 1st 2013. The journalists are: Ahayaat Al-Jadidah Newspaper photographer Issam Rimawi, Chinese Agency photographer Fadi Arouri, Anatolia Agency photographer Moath Meshaal, and the correspondent of Raya FM Radio Shadi Hatim.
The Israeli occupation forces IOF arrested "Quds Press" Agency correspondent Muhammad Mona on 7th August 2013, from his home in the West Bank city of Nablus, and is still detained. IOF also arrested WatanTV cameraman Mohammed Awad from his home in the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah on Tuesday 13th August 2013.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its concern due to the new deterioration of media freedoms and freedom of expression in Palestine, particularly by the Palestinian parties, which is resulted by the escalation of tension between Fatah and Hamas and the negative effects of the events in Egypt.
MADA calls on all those responsible and concerned to respect the freedom of opinion and expression in Palestine, which is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Palestinian Basic Law clearly and explicitly in Article 19. MADA also demands the international community to exert real pressure for the release of journalists detained in Israeli jails and to stop the attacks on journalists.
MADA condemns all violations against journalists, and demands the punishment of the aggressors.
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