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MADA is concerned by the escalation of violence against journalists following the Palestinian national reconciliation

Ramallah - 10.6.2014: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its concerns over the escalation of violence against journalists and pacific demonstrators by the Palestinian security forces since the beginning of the month. This increase raises serious questions about the extent to which freedom of expression is respected following the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and the subsequent formation of a unity government. Despite the repeated declarations of intent about increasing the respect for freedom of expression, the hopes generated by the new political situation have so far been disappointed with, on the contrary, a deterioration of the status of media freedoms in Palestine.

 

Indeed, since the beginning of June MADA has monitored 10 assaults on freedom of expression, 6 in the West Bank and 4 in Gaza. The most serious violation was the attack of the police against Wattan radio correspondent in Gaza, Yousif Bashir Hammad, while he was covering scuffles which took place in front of a bank in Gaza because of the current salary crisis. The aggression left Hammad with a skull contusion and a bone fissure in his right foot. Another particularly serious incident was the attack by a female policeman against the feminist activist Huwaida Alduraimly while she was filming with her cell phone the police preventing public sector employees from entering a bank in Gaza to get their wages. Aldumairy suffered from bruises on different parts of her body as well as a bone fracture in her left arm. Other violent aggressions were suffered by Al-Aqsa TV cameraman, Ahmad Al-Kahtib, who was attacked while filming a feminist sin-in in front of the intelligence agency’s headquarter in Tulkarem, and by Al-Haya Al-Jadida correspondent, Yousif Al-Shayeb, assaulted while covering a march of solidarity with hunger-striker prisoners in Al-Bireh.

 

Other violations of media freedoms so far this month include prevention from covering events as well as detentions and interrogations of journalists.

MADA condemns all these attacks against the freedom of expression and media freedoms and the serious deterioration of the situation. MADA demands that the concerned authorities conduct serious and transparent investigations on these assaults against journalists and hold those responsible accountable. In addition, MADA asks the Liberties Committee established by the Cairo reconciliation agreement and composed of various Palestinian parties to play an active role in stopping the violations of human rights in general, and freedom of expression in particular, as guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law.

 

 

 

                                                                                                    The journalist Hammad receiving medical treatment in hospital