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MADA: unprecedented escalation in violations against media freedoms during 2015

Ramallah- 17th of March 2016: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” held a press conference today morning,  during which announced the release of its annual report about violations of media freedoms during the year of 2015, and shed light on the recent Israeli new attack against media freedoms, following a recent resolution issued by the Israeli Prime Minister to close media outlets under the pretext of incitement that permeated from the closure of the “ Palestine today” TV and  Trans Media Company rather than the arrest, threat and intimidation toward several journalists.
 
Moussa Rimawi -The General Director of MADA emphasized during the conference that violations of media freedoms in Palestine recorded during the year 2015 a new peak compared to what has been monitored over the past years , noting that most brutal of these attacks was killing a media student in (Modern University College) Ahmed Jehajehah, who got shot by the Israeli Occupation Forces, during the incursion  of Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank , and the killing of Palestine TV cameraman Kamal Abu Nahel by anonymous assailants, in a crime that its perpetrators have not been detected until the release of this report.
 
He  said that MADA monitored a total of 599 violations (407 Israeli violations, 192 Palestinian violations)  against media freedoms during the year 2015, the number of violations registered is considered as the highest ever to be monitored in Palestine since “MADA” center started monitoring violations against media freedoms around a decade ago.
In comparison with the year 2014, Rimawi assured that the total number of violations (Israeli and Palestinian) against the media freedom in the West Bank and Gaza during the year 2015, increased by 134 points which is equivalent to 29%, bearing in mind that year 2014 has witnessed the most aggressive and brutal violations.
 
Furthermore, Rimawi added in comparison of the total violations (Israeli and Palestinian) monitored against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the year 2015 with what was monitored in 2013 increased to 162% with an average annual increase of 81%.
He added that the Israeli occupation committed the largest number of the gravest and most hazardous of all monitored violations (407) violations, which is equivalent to 68% of the total violations, while various Palestinian parties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip committed a total of 192 violations, which is equivalent to 32% of the total violations.
 
 Rimawi mentioned that Journalists and media outlets faced fierce and wide practices of suppression by the Israeli Occupation during the last three months of the year 2015 interim the Palestinian popular rising (112 violations were monitored in October 2015), which erupted against the Israeli occupation early October.
 
He added they closed three Palestinian radio stations (during November 2015), in addition to threatening other several others of a similar process claiming that they practice incitement against the occupation through their programs, news and even songs they broadcast, and following the recent Israeli resolution that was issued on 08 March 2016, which included shutting down media outlets, they shut dawn “Palestine today” TV and ”Trans-Media” for media services offices, rather than damaging and confiscating their properties, threatening and arresting some of their journalists.
 
 
Regarding Palestinian violations, Rimawi said that the number of Palestinian violations against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza during 2015, has increased alarmingly (192 violations), as it soared 78 points which is equivalent to 68% when compared to 2014, whereas compared to the year 2013 it increased by 114 points which is equivalent to 146%. In other words, the annual increase rate of Palestinian violations during the past two years (2014 and 2015) reached 73%, which raises serious concerns in relation to the manner in which the official authorities deal with the freedom of expression and media in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 
He added, the largest part of the Palestinian violations monitored in 2015 took place in the West Bank where 116 violations were monitored (around 60%) versus 76 Palestinian violations committed in Gaza Strip, which is equal to 40% of the total Palestinian violations which have reached 
 
He emphasized that the Palestinian violations occurred for two main reasons: the first reason is the lack of belief from officials and authorities (especially the security service) in the West Bank and Gaza strip in the freedom expression and media, and their refusal to criticism or expression of opinion (different or opposite) and dealing with them as security threatening acts. However, the other part of violations emerged as a result of the division in the Palestinian arena.
 
The report also indicates that, Palestinian violations came within 17 types, whereas the largest part of it concentrated within 5 types: summoning and interrogation processes, arrests, physical assaults, detentions and denial of coverage, which is equivalent to 77% of the total Palestinian violations (in West Bank and Gaza Strip).
 
The report noticed that during the year 2015 the arrest and detention of journalists have expanded by the Palestinian security forces, as the number of monitored arrests increased to reach 31 cases (18 cases in the West Bank and 13 cases in Gaza Strip), which is a more than once doubled increase compared to the year 2014 (15 cases).
Rimawi added, legal legislations of media did not witness any improvement; on the contrary, when analyzing the Higher Media Council law, represented a backward step, The law’s enactment and publication has been suspended by the president and prime minister, after a lobbying effort of many media and civil society organizations in cooperation with the head of the department of culture and information in the PLO(Dr. Hanan Ashrawi), moreover they didn’t pass the right to access information nor the audio-visual law.
 
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” expresses its high concern regarding the continuous and escalation of all Israeli violations against Palestinian media freedoms, that was more blatant and violent, hence, repeat its demand to the immediate interference of the International community, to put an end to the Israeli violations against media freedoms, Hold officials accountable for attacks on journalists and to Cancel all orders of closing of all media outlets.
MADA also demands all Palestinian Authorities to respect the freedom of expression that is guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law, and to stop the policy of arrest and detention against journalists, and to hold accountability for all violators and perpetrators, and to enact the Palestinian law on right to access information.
 
 
The full report: