“MADA”: 26 violations against media freedoms in Palestine during May 2016.
Ramallah-(15/06/2016) - May 2016 witnessed limited decline in numbers of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared to the previous month, The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” monitored a total of 26 violations against media freedoms (where 16 violations were committed by Israeli Occupation, and 10 violations were committed by different Palestinian Apparatuses, while during April an overall amount of (29 violations) committed by both Israeli and Palestinian parties.
Israeli Violations ranged from, targeting five journalists with rubber bullets, tear gas bombs and Stun grenades, to sentencing two journalists, rather than arresting three other media graduates, and two other cases of banning from coverage, 3 cases of detention and interrogation, one case of banning from travel, one case of confiscating media materials and a case of humiliating security check of a reporter before entering a press conference for the Israeli prime minister and the French prime minister; once he refused this humiliating treatment and impeded the coverage of the conference.
Israeli occupation authorities sentenced member of the secretariat of PJS Omar Nazzal to four months, on the second of May, Nazzal was arrested on the 23/04/2016, on his way to Jordan to participate on a conference for European Journalists Union in Bosnia, moreover “Salem," Israeli military court sentenced the editor in Al- Fajer TV Sami Al Sa’ee to 9 months, ,he was arrested on 09/032016 under the pretext of " incitement through what he posts on Facebook ."
02/05- IOF confiscated a collection of photographs belonging to MADA; featuring Israeli attacks and violations against Palestinian journalists and media outlets, whilst, Ali Mohammad Sabbah the director of (Al Haya Center for Art and Culture was intending to transport them to Jerusalem through Qalandia checkpoint, for an exhibition on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, whence he was detained for long hours, rather than being summoned and interrogated several times.
On 03/05 several journalists were injured, reporter of (24A.E) Ali Naser Obeidat, Mohammad Abu Shusheh photographer and director of Roya TV Chanel, moreover photographer and journalist Zaher Abu Hussein was injured with bruises and partial burns due an attack by IOF against a peaceful demonstration, organized by Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, in solidarity with journalist Omar Nazzal.
On 06/05 correspondent of Palestine TV in Qalqilya Ahmad Abd Al Malek Othman- Shawar was injured with two rubber bullets that hit his hand and leg, while covering a demonstration against settlements in Qufor Qaddoum, on the same day Almuthana Samir Deek the videographer of Trans-media agency was hit with four rubber bullets in his hand leg and shoulder by IOF.
On (23/5) Nayef Safadi the director and photographer of the European News Agency- EPA in Palestine and Israel, was exposed to a humiliating security check by Israeli Occupation security forces while he was entering at the Israeli Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem to cover a press conference, moreover on 25/05 IOF arrested Izzat Saleh Ahmad (23 years) media graduate from Al Najah National University, from his home in Kafr Al-Deek, Salfeet Governorate, besides, Israeli Occupation intelligence banned the correspondent and editor of “AL Quds International Press” news agency Khaldoun Zakaria Mathloum from travel, while traveling to participate in a media conference in turkey, on 30/05 IOF also banned the photographer of the Chinese News Agency “Xinhua” Nidal Shafeeq Ishatyeh, and the photographer of AP Majdy Ishtayeh from covering a raid carried out by IOF in Salem Village Nablus governorate.
Different Palestinian Apparatuses both in West Bank and Gaza Strip committed a total of 10 violations against media freedoms (5 in west Bank, 5 in Gaza Strip) ranged between detention and arrest, 5 cases of summoning and interrogating journalists, and two threats and incitement rather than confiscating equipment.
On 02/05 Palestinian Intelligence summoned Adib Barakat Attia (26 years) and was detained and interrogated, notably that he was summoned several times after coming back from studying in Cyprus (Masters in Media), on 9/5 the chairman of Al –Eqtesadeya (the economic) newspaper in Gaza journalist Mohammed Khaled Abu Jyab was threatened by chairman of contractors in Gaza Strip after posting comments on Facebook regarding transporting cement into Gaza Strip, on 16/05 Internal security in Gaza Strip summoned the correspondent of "Wattan" and a volunteer at the radio "Sawt AlSha’b "Ezzedine Abu Aisha who was interrogated twice rather than the degrading and inhuman treatment that can amount to torture, on 16/05 Palestinian Intelligence arrested the correspondent of “Al Aqsa TV” Tareq Abdelraziq Abu Zeid from his home in Nablus (still under arrest), on 23/05 Palestinian Intelligence also summoned the correspondent of “Al Quds” in Bethlehem Mamdouh Mahmoud Hamamrah while heading back home after participating in a pmedia conference held in Turkey, on 24/05 freelance journalist Amjad Ayman Yaghi was exposed to threats and inciting campaign after publishing an investigative report in the Lebanese newspaper “Al Akhbar” about sexual harassment against women in Gaza Strip.
Violations in details- May 2016
(02/05)- IOF confiscated a collection of photographs belonging to MADA; featuring Israeli attacks and violations against Palestinian journalists and media outlets, whilst, Ali Mohammad Sabbah (36 years) the director of (Al Haya Center for Art and Culture) was intending to transport them to Jerusalem through Qalandia checkpoint, for an exhibition on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day that was “declared by the UN on the 3rd of May each year”, whence he was detained for 8 hours, rather than being summoned and interrogated several times.
As Sabbah reported to MADA on this regards” I was stopped at Qalandia military Checkpoint on 05:00PM of 02/05 and I was detained till 10:00PM I was interrogated for 15 minutes only, I was informed that I should present myself the next day as well, on 03/05 I headed to the intelligence headquarter on 10:00AM and I stayed interrogation room (number 4) till 4:00PM, where I was interrogated about what are those photographs and to who they belong, and whether I was planning to organize a demonstration using these photographs, and when I informed him that those photos do not belong to me and I am just transporting them to the exhibition on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, whence the office told me that MADA center is prohibited/ and that “the law does not protect the dupes” and that I transported prohibited photographs, and asked me more questions about my presence at Al Aqsa Mosque and my relation with some people and other strange questions, after a week of this investigation I received a phone call from the Israeli Intelligence asking me to come back again to their headquarter on 24/05 but I didn’t”.
(02/05)- Israeli military court sentenced Omar Naji Nazzal(54 years) , member of the secretariat and the secretary of PJS to four months of administrative detention, after nine days of his arrest; on his way to participate in a conference for European Journalists Union in Bosnia on 23/04/2016 whilst, he was arrested by Israeli Occupation intelligence at Al-Karamah crossing, Marilyn Rabadi his wife reported to MADA” On Saturday (23/4) at around 14:00 pm the Israeli occupation authorities arrested Omar on Al-Karameh crossing where he was heading to participate in a conference for European Journalists Union to be held in Bosnia, he was detained for five hours before being arrested and deported to Attsyoun detention center, as he himself told me”.
(02/05)- Palestinian intelligence summoned once again Adib Barakat Attia (26 years) and detain him for one day , after interrogating him while returning from traveling on Al-Karameh crossing, (on 18/4) he was summoned and interrogated at their headquarters in Hebron also on 25,28/04, he was summoned once again on 02/05 in a new affidavit he reported to MADA "as soon as I arrived on 2/5 (to the Palestinian intelligence headquarters in Hebron) I was transferred to the investigation section, where they started the investigative hearings that lasted till midnight, ".
He also added "After midnight and at the start of 03/05 they took all my belongings, they conducted a medical examination on me, once I was informed that I am under arrest, I was transferred to a cell where I stayed there till 11:00am, after two hours they resumed their interrogation, during it I was informed that I will be released, essentially, and after less than half an hour I was released”.
Attia confirmed "the investigation was mainly about themes of the Al sharq (media) Conference (in Turkey), and my participation, which I informed them about, and my stay in Cyprus and all student activities that I had nothing to do with, I was also interrogated about allegations of meeting Palestinian personalities in Turkey, which I fully denied, Besides, they also interrogated me about my brothers detention in past, after being released I was demanded to present myself at their office on Thursday 05/05, I asked them to postpone it as I have family occasions and commitments but they rejected my request, and confirmed the date next Thursday”.
(03/05)-Three journalists suffered minor burns and bruises due to an attack by IOF against a peaceful demonstration, organized by the journalists syndicate in solidarity with the member of its General Secretariat Omar Nazzal who was arrested by IOF. Ali Nasr obeidat (33years) reporter of news 24 Emirati Agency reported to MADA "yesterday (03/5) at around 13:00pm, while participating in a peaceful demonstration organized by the journalists' Syndicate in solidarity with the detained journalist Omar Nazzal, after half an hour IOF attacked protesters with stun grenades; one of them hit my left foot ,and another hit my colleague Mohammad Abu Shusha in the back (cameraman at Roya TV), a third bomb hit my colleague the photojournalist Zaher Abu Hussein in his right foot. All of us have received medical treatment at Ramallah Hospital for about two hours; notably that we all were injured with slightly burn. "
(06/05)- Correspondent of Palestine TV in Qalqilya Ahmad Abd Al Malek Othman- Shawar (29years) was injured with two rubber bullets that hit his hand and leg as he reported to MADA center ‘while covering a weekly demonstration against settlements in Qufor Qaddoum village, IOF attacked all protestors including journalists, where they attacked us abruptly and brutally although we (the journalists) were standing a bit far from all protestors and IOF, yet we were targeted with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets, which to led to my injury with two rubber bullets one in my left arm elbow, and the other in my left foot, I received the medical treatment in the field”.
(06/05)- videographer of trans-media agency Almuthana Samir Deek (26 years) was hit with four rubber bullets in his hand, leg and shoulder by IOF, during the coverage of a demonstration in Qufr Qaddoum village as Deek reported to MADA center "during the covering of the weekly demonstration in Qufr Qaddoum on 06/05 IOF attacked protestors and journalists indiscriminately with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets which resulted in my injury with four rubber bullets, two in the ankle of my right leg, and two in my left shoulder (between my shoulders and armpits), while a tear gas bomb tear hit the ground and hit my left foot, hence, I have received first-aid in the field".
(09/05)- The chairman of the economic newspaper in Gaza journalist Mohammed Khaled Abu Jyab (34years) was threatened by chairman of contractors in Gaza Strip after posting comments on Facebook regarding transporting cement into Gaza Strip as Abu Jyab reported to MADA” I was threatened by the chairman of Contractors in Gaza Osama Kahil after posting on Facebook, linked to the recent statements made by chairman of Contractors regarding the dates of transporting cement into the Gaza Strip, as an economic specialist and follower of the whole economic situation, where I posted on facebook commenting on his repeated statements “Osama Kahil there is no Cement so far and then” hence, I received a phone call by Osama asking me not to mention his name in the newspaper or on Facebook, I told him that I will do so in case he left the chairmanship of the contractors, he replied with curses and insults and threatened me that he is capable of getting me from where ever I am.”
Abu Jyab added "I filed several complaints to the official bodies and authorities; so far the case wasn’t solved."
(15/05)- Salem Israeli military court on Sunday (15/5) sentenced Sami Saeed Al Sa’ee (36years) the reporter and editor of Al Fajer Aljadeed local TV to 9 months,on charges of incitement through his posts on Facebook".
IOF arrested the journalist Sami Sa’ee from his home from Ertah suburb in Tulkarem city (north of West Bank) at the dawn of 09/03/2016, which was followed by charges of inciting through Facebook, according to his lawyer quoted his wife, in a previous affidavit after displacing her husband from West Bank to the Israeli Megiddo prison "We have informed the Palestinian Prisoners Club that indictment filed against Sami accusing him of incitement through publishing photos and posts related to Israeli military operations." She added "Israeli Occupation Intelligence collected all Sami’s posts on facebook since October until the date of his arrest”.
(16/05)- Palestinian Internal security in Gaza Strip summoned the correspondent of "Wattan Agency News” and a volunteer at the radio "Sawt El Sha’b "Ezzedine Abu Aisha (21 years) who was interrogated twice rather than the degrading and inhuman treatment that can amount to torture, as Abu Aisha reported to MADA” I received on 16/05 an official proclamation from the internal security asking me to present myself the next day to the headquarters of the internal security in Gaza, I went there on time at 9:00am, since I arrived they started interrogating me, the officers treatment was degrading and rude as he asked me sit on my knees, and he asked me to stand in a specific area/ narrow space, where I was prevented from movement or to look at the investigator face”.
He added” the investigator also asked me regarding my political affiliation, I responded that I do not belong to any, he also interrogated me about my trip to the West Bank on 12/03/2016 for 9 day, the purpose of the trip and which party funded it, and what I work and about my monthly salary and in case I am planning to revisit , they also interrogated me about my work in the radio / Sawt elsha’b / and the relation with the radio, he was not convinced that I am only a volunteer there. I was released at eleven under a condition to be back the next day, the next day I went in the morning of (Tuesday 17/06 the interrogation lasted from 09:00am till 02:00pm I was interrogated on the same previous topics”.
(16/05)- Israeli Occupation intelligence banned the correspondent and editor of “AL Quds International Press” news agency Khaldoun Zakaria Mathloum (32 years) from travel, while traveling to participate in media conference in Turkey, as Mathloum reported to MADA” on Monday around 5:00pm I was heading to Al Karameh crossing to travel through Jordan to Turkey in order to participate in the Palestinian international forum for media and communication, based on an official invitation I received by the organizers of the conference, at the crossing Israeli Occupation Intelligence reserved my passport for four hours, while I was detained until 9:00pm, once an Israeli officer came a took some few personal information about me; name, age, social status, it did not take more than five minutes, afterwards an Israeli soldier/female informed me that I am banned from traveling due to security reasons, and to ask the coordination and liaison office to find out why”.
(16/05)- Palestinian Intelligence arrested the correspondent of “Al Aqsa TV” Tareq Abdelraziq Abu Zeid (40years)from his house in Nablus as his father reported to MADA” around 11:00pm of 16/05 a troop from the Palestinian Intelligence surrounded, my son Tareq’s house, in Nablus that is located near Nablus National University, while another 7 personnel’s (from which two were female, raided the house, searching thoroughly, and confiscated some devices and equipment (including a personal computer a cellphone; I am not sure how many devices were confiscated, afterwards they arrested Tareq and now he is at Nablus prosecution as his lawyer Ibrahim Al Amer informed me (the affidavit was taken on 18/05)”.
In another affidavit for Tareq’s father (taken on 31/05) stating that “Tareq was transferred two weeks ago to Junaid prison in Nablus, and he banned from visit neither his family nor his lawyer” adding that his detention was extended by the public prosecutor that will end tomorrow 01/06 and a court hearing will take place on 02/06”.
(23/5)- Nayef Safadi (49years from Golan highs) the director and photographer of the European Press Agency- EPA in Palestine and Israel, was exposed to a humiliating security check by Israeli Occupation security forces while he was intending to cover a press conference at the Israeli Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem, as the security personnel’s demanding him to strip off his trouser in case he wants to enter after searching him in an unjustified and abnormal way, that led him to leave the place due to this humiliating and degrading treatment as Safadi reported to MADA” I was heading from the EPA- and on behalf of several press agencies to cover the press conference for Benjamin Netanyahu prime minister of Israeli and French prime minister in west Jerusalem, and as soon as I reached the location, they demanded me(after several normal and routine questions) to be physically searched, I didn’t complain also it was weird, while they were searching me one of the Israeli Intelligence personnel asked me to strip of my trouser from few seconds, but I rejected and I considered it humiliating, they informed me that I will not be allowed to enter unless I complied to their /security checks/ hence, I gave up on covering the conference that will cost such humiliating treatment, I took my camera and left the location, I also informed the Journalists syndicate, and I sent a letter to all European Agencies that were waiting to receive photos of the conference explaining was I was exposed to”. He added” so far I did not receive an apology of what I was exposed to, although when I met the media officer of Netanyahu’s office he apologized verbally, and that they will send and official letter about the incident”.
(23/05)- Palestinian Intelligence summoned the correspondent of “Al Quds TV” in Bethlehem Mamdouh Mahmoud Hamamrah (32years) while heading back from participating in a media conference held in Turkey, as Hamamrah reported to MADA ”On my way back from Jordan after Participating in a media and communication forum that was organized in Istanbul, I was stopped by a Palestinian Intelligence Officer in “Jericho Stop”, asking me where I have been, and with who, and if anyone gave me anything, he searched my bag thoroughly and took out everything from it, after 15 minutes he handed me a paper to follow with the Palestinian Intelligence office in Bethlehem (he lives there) on Wednesday 25/05”. Hamamrah also added” I have informed the journalists syndicate of what happened, and I didn’t comply to the summon, as the PJS will solve the issue”.
(24/05)- The freelance journalist Amjad Ayman Yaghi (26years) was exposed to threats and inciting campaign after publishing an investigative report in a Lebanese newspaper (Al Akhbar) about sexual harassment against women in Gaza Strip as Yaghi reported to MADA” on 24/05 I published an investigation on what workers/ women are exposed to extortion and harassment by several personals in certain backed/subsidized and private institutions particularly in Gaza Strip, that took me 4 months to conduct, where I followed all rules in citation and references even interviews with women (within permitted and accepted norms by the society), following several legal advices and consultancies, I observed these facts”.
Yaghi added” after publishing the investigation report several public figures were irritated as it affects their status, as I stated in my report that some harassers were lawyers, journalists and officials from international institutions, and others, after publishing this report I was exposed to an explicit and direct threat from an official who repeatedly threatened me over the phone, for a period of 8 days, who distrusted my work, and threatened me indirectly to tarnish my professional image, moreover, I heard from a close press agency to the Bar Association that they are intending to file a complaint against me”. Yaghi pointed out that “Journalists syndicate contacted me directly to verify the reports data; hence they issued an illustrative statement”.
(25/5)- IOF arrested Izzat Saleh Ahmad (23years) media graduate from Al Najah National University, from his home in Kafr Al-Deek villge -Salfeet (north of West Bank) as his father reported to MADA” at around 1:00am of 25/05 a troop of IOF raided our house after breaking the lock, they thoroughly searched the house, but did not confiscate anything, but they arrested Izzat”.
Izzat’s father also pointed out that ”his son Izzat was presented to the court 3 times since his arrestment (most recent was on 06/05/2016) and that Izzat is suffering from a broken leg due to a previous car accident, as a platinum piece was planted in his leg”.
(30/5)- IOF banned the photographer of the Chinese News Agency “Xinhua” Nidal Shafeeq Ishatyeh (47 years), and the photographer of AP Majdy Ishtayeh from covering a raid carried out by IOF in Salem Village Nablus governorate, as Nidal reported to MADA ”Around06:00am of 30/05 a large force of IOF raided Salem Village in an inspection operation, and while me and my colleague Majdy were trying to cover the raid an Israeli officer prevented us without any violence”