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MADA: Media freedom is a victim of the latest Israeli military campaign

Ramallah - 26/6/2014: Journalists and media outlets have been the victims of the military campaign committed by Israel in the West Bank after the disappearance of three settlers who, Israel claims, were kidnapped by Hamas.

 

 Since the first days of the military crackdown, Palestinian journalists have been arrested, detained, threatened, and many of them have been prevented from covering the events. Different media outlets have been raided and expensive equipments have been seized.

 

MADA’s General Director, Mousa Rimawi, said that  MADA has been following closely those violations of freedom of expression and media freedom. MADA has monitored various forms of violations, among them the raiding of media premises and the confiscation of equipment and files, as suffered by Trance Media, which was seized an equipment worth a million dollars, and Turbo Design (which publishes the English magazine “This Week in Palestine”) and its sister company Jeel Publishing (publisher of the Arabic youth magazine “Filistin Ashabab”) which was confiscated 7 computers, including servers and archive.

 

So far, MADA has monitored the following violations, which will be lengthily described in MADA’s monthly report in a few days:

On Tuesday 17/6/2014, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested Aziz Kayed, Al-Aqsa TV general director in the West Bank, at 1 am.

The Israeli forces prevented Al-Quds.com photographer, Abdulrahman Younes, from taking photos of a traffic jam caused by the IOF at the Container checkpoint in the West Bank.

On Wednesday 18/6/2014 at dawn, the IOF raided the premises of Trance Media in Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, and seized all the equipment.

On Wednesday 18/6/2014, the Israeli occupation forces detained Ajyal Radio Network’s photographer, Yehya Habayib, while he was covering different attacks committed by the IOF in Hebron. Habayib was released after a few hours.

On Thursday 19/6/2014, the Israeli forces prevented journalists from covering their raid of Birzeit University.

On Friday 20/6/2014, the Israeli forces detained Palmedia’s photographer Salah Ziad while he was covering the IOF’s raid of the house of Saleh Arouri in Aroura, north of Ramallah.

On Saturday 21/6/2014, the Israeli occupation forces raided Palmedia’s headquarters in Al-Balou’ area, near Ramallah. The premises host other media outlets such as Al-Quds TV, Russia Today TV, and Kuwait TV. The IOF seized the electronic storage devices and broke some equipment.

On Sunday 22/6/2014, the IOF detained Al-Aqsa TV’s cameraman Suhaib Alasa after they raided his house in Al-Obaidiya near Bethlehem. Alasa was released after few hours of investigation.

On Sunday 22/6/2014, the Israeli occupation forces raided the offices of the companies Turbo Design and Jeel Publishing in Ramallah and seized some of their computers and servers. The two companies edit and publish the magazines “This Week in Palestine” and “Filistin Ashabab”.

 

MADA’s director points out that the Israeli government has always seized any opportunity to violate the rights of journalists and to target media outlets. However, these violations have increased dramatically since the beginning of the Israeli military crackdown following the disappearance of the three settlers, and they are part of the collective punishment that the Israeli government is imposing on the Palestinian people. This is a severe violation of human rights, including freedom of expression.

 

MADA condemns any type of violations against journalists and media freedoms as well as the Israeli policy of collective punishment. MADA will contact international organizations to encourage them to put more effective pressure on the Israeli occupation government so that it ends its attacks against journalists. Those have recently known a noticeable increase, as documented by MADA’s monthly reports in 2014. MADA also demands that the Israeli occupation  be held accountable for all its aggressions against media freedoms in Palestine in violation of international law. The impunity of the Israeli occupation and the absence of serious deterrent is no less than an encouragement for it to continue its crimes unabated.

For more details on each violation, please contact MADA center.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                        Photo By: Hamza Burnat