MADA: August witnessed the highest amount of violations against media freedoms since the beginning of 2016
Ramallah-11/9/2016 August witnessed the highest amount of violations against media freedoms, since the beginning of 2016, including a relatively large number of grave assaults against media freedoms and its ability to fulfill their mission in Palestine.
During March MADA Center has monitored the highest number of violations (40 violations), but August has exceeded it to record a total number of (41 violations).
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and Israeli Occupation Authorities in general committed the bulk of all attacks recorded during August (26 violations while different Palestinian apparatuses in West Bank and Gaza Strip a total of 15 violations).
Compared to total number of violations monitored in July was less in 11 violations, as July recorded a total number of (30 violations).
Israeli violations monitored during August were the highest not only in terms of number, but also the type of violations which are considered as dangerous and serious violations.
On top of all Israeli violations, IOF shut down “Al Sanabel” local radio station after raiding its headquarter, destructing and confiscating broadcasting equipment and other properties, they arrested five of its staff, they also stormed “Babel” printing house in Halhoul (north of Hebron) searching and confiscating some of its equipment, besides, the extension of administrative detention against Journalist Omar Nazzal member of the general secretariat of the Palestinian journalist syndicate, rather than sentencing the cameraman of Trans-Media company and Al Najah Chanel, Hazem Imad Naser to 8 months of actual imprisonment and a bale of 3000 NIS (880$), in addition to injuring the journalist Raghdah Nouraldeen Etmah with injuries and burns in her legs caused by a stun grenade shot by one of IOF while covering a demonstration in front of Ofer detention center near Ramallah.
Following the shutdown of Al Sanabel radio station number of media institutions closed by IOF rose to three since the beginning of 2016, and six since October 2015, which expose the Israeli Policy that is escalating on a fast pace targeting media outlets through undermining its ability to work, such grave breaches affects many media workers (as in Al Sanabel Radio station works 15 employees) such attacks also violates the Palestinian people right to know.
Israeli occupation forces continued to "invent" more systematic practices aimed to silence press and prevent coverage, on 3/8 IOF deliberately in an unprecedented way detained the photographer of “Raya FM” Shadi Hatem Karakrah taking his as a hostage to intimidate other journalists to not cover the demonstration organized in front of Ofer Detention Center, to force them leave the place immediately otherwise he stay detained or will be arrested, (which is a grave breach of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits the taking of hostages that prohibited by virtue of non-derogable human rights law because it amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty).
August witnessed a total of 15 Palestinian Violations against media freedoms as (6 in Gaza Strip and 9 in West Bank) which indicate an increase compared to what was monitored in July 2016 as only 7 Palestinian violations were reported.
Among the most prominent Palestinian violations that were monitored by MADA, arresting the freelance journalist Ragheed Mohammad Tubbsieh for 18 days in Qalqilieh by preventive security service, moreover the Palestinian Intelligence arrested Birzeit University media student Osama Fakhoury while covering scenes in Al Bireh City for “Aneen AlQayd” network, for seven days, but withholding confiscated photographic equipment is pending till the moment of preparing this report, besides burning the car of the Al Quds Newspaper reporter and photographer of Reuters in Jenin Ali Samoudi by unknown assailants.
In Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health issued a circular directed to the departments of public relations and media in hospitals to prevent whereby dealing with media regarding the disclosure of information regarding several issue, one of its clauses stipulates to prevent the reporter of Al- Monitor site, the freelance journalist in Al-Araby TV Mohammed Ahmed Othman to enter any hospital, because of a television report that was conducted by Othman on health sector during the month of April in which he addressed the subject on drugs of unknown origin in Gaza, and the lack of active ingredient in the composition, besides to prosecuting the Journalist Hajar Mohammad Hard, who works with Arab TV, accusing her with five charges related to preparing a television report on corruption in the health transfer system.
August Violations in details:
(03/08)- Palestinian Intelligence summoned reporter of Pelset News Website, Osama Shaheen (34years) as he reported to MADA: “yesterday on 02/08 I received a phone call from the Palestinian Intelligence headquarters in Hebron, asking me to present myself the next day to the PI headquarters, the other day as scheduled on 03/08 I headed to the headquarters, it was around 10:00am and there they interrogated me regarding my previous arrestment by Israeli Occupation, and my work as a journalist where I work and to which website.”
He added, “The interrogation lasted till 04:00pm, as two officers shifted on interrogating me, afterwards I was released after handing me a written notification to follow up with the PI at their headquarters on 16/08 but I didn’t comply”.
(03/08)- TV correspondent of "Palestine today," Raghda Noureddine Atma, (27years) got injured; burns and wounds on her legs caused by a stun grenade fired by an Israeli soldier while covering a demonstration near Ofer detention center, after being prevented from covering the event, where, as Atma reported to MADA "I was burned in my left leg and wounds in my right leg caused by a stun grenade fired by Israeli soldiers close to me, during our presence near Ofer detention center around 2:00 pm of 3/8 afternoon, to cover the demonstration of solidarity with the prisoner Bilal Kayed in his hunger strike for 50 days. "
She also added,” IOF gave us a period of 3 minutes to leave the place, yet he shot us with stun grenade before the end of the given period, I couldn’t run immediately hence I was injured with shrapnel pieces of metal from the bomb, I was transferred to the Red Crescent hospital and receive the necessary treatment there”.
(3/8)- IOF detained the photographer Of Raya Network Shadi Hatem Krakrah (23 years) in to intimidate journalists and forcing them to stay away and prevent them from covering the demonstration organized in front of Ofer detention center, as Krakrah informed MADA center “while covering the demonstration that was organized near Ofer “Israeli” detention center/Ramallah governorate, IOF used me as a hostage, I was detained in a military jeep for fifteen minutes and threatened of arrestment to force other journalists to leave the place, and once the journalists expressed their willingness to leave the place, I was released. "
(08/04)- Internal Security service in Gaza summoned the journalist in the Palestinian Network for Information and Press Ziad Ismail Awad (40 years) and the freelance journalist Abdul Hadi Ismail, (48years), interrogated them on their writings and their work where Awad reported to MADA "I received yesterday (3/8) an official written notification by Internal Security Service, to present myself the next day (4/8) at the 9:00 at their headquarters. I arrived as scheduled to the headquarters with the journalist Abdul Hadi Ismail, where they interrogated me for half an hour about the sites that I publish my articles on, and regarding my personal opinion, especially Donia AlWattan (news website) who I constantly publish my articles on, and whether I get paid, furthermore they asked me about the topics I tackle in my articles, I answered that usually it’s related to social and humanitarian topics, they also asked my opinion on the blockade imposed on Gaza Strip and what is the reason for it, and whether I was harassed before, and if I informed the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate of the fact that I was called for summon, finally I was released under a condition to inform that I received a good treatment (not beaten or tortured)”.
Abdul Hadi Ismail also reported to MADA” I was summoned with a written formal notification, and when I headed to the internal security service headquarters I stayed there for an hour and a half under interrogation with the presence of three interrogators, I was asked about my professional work, and topics I usually tackle and the website I publish my articles on, as the majority of my articles are about humanitarian subjects that most of it include lots of calls directed to president Mahmoud Abbas for aid, they interrogated me also about the overall situation in Gaza Strip”.
(04/08)- Unknown assailants burned the car of Al Quds Newspaper reporter and cameraman for Reuters in Jenin journalist Ali Sadiq Samoudi (49 years) at night, Samoudi reported to MADA " my car, a Nisan Jeep while located in a construction yard where I live, at around 03:30 am of (04.08.2016) was hit with a Molotov bottle from a close range, perpetrators ran quickly, as one of the neighbors heard the sound of an explosion and was able to call the civil defense immediately to control the fire, damages has confined in the front part of the vehicle as a result of rapid intervention, however detectives were called to start investigating the incident".
(05/08)- "Madar-News" site after less than a week after its official launch was exposed to piracy, noting that the site was working before that about a month and a half experimentally (unofficially) where the chief editor of the site Ali Ahmad Daraghmeh (48 years) reported to MADA " on Friday (5/8) at around 06:30, the site was completely disrupted for seven hours, and when contacting our rental suppliers “of the server” (London-based) for the reason, they informed us to contain the site of many viruses, and that there are a large number of pirates trying to enter the site and send viruses at the same time, prompting the management to close the server in order to bypass or skip the stage”.
He also added” supposedly the company will inform us regarding the exact place piracy, I can’t suspect anyone, yet I think that the morning program /Dabous Al Sabah/ which is a critical of certain practices that was presented on AlNajah Radio, and now I prepare it to be presented on Madar website and publish it on my personal Facebook, rather than other program that translate News from Hebrew to Arabic that our colleague Mohammad Abu Alaan prepare maybe the reason of this attack”.
(08/08)- IOF interrogated the correspondent of Anatolia Agency, Qais Omar Abu Samra (36 years) on field, as he reported to MADA” around 02:30am of 08/08 we woke up on a hard knock on our front door in Qaliliah (north of West Bank), they informed me that they IOF, when I opened there were 6 soldiers at the door, though they didn’t enter the house or searched it, however they asked me my name and if I was a journalist, they asked me to bring my personal ID, and press ID, they asked me to go with them, after 100 meters another group of military jeeps and interrogator, once a soldier came toward me and started inspecting and searching me afterwards he handed me to the intelligence officer, when he started interrogating me in field for around half an hour, as the intelligence officer asked me what and with who I work, he also asked me about my personal opinion regarding the coup in Turkey as a worker in a Turkish agency regarding the nature of my work in Anatolia agency, and if usually go to Israeli areas, while one of the IOF captured a photo of my car that has the Anatolia press logo, and the car’s plates, finally they asked me who owns the car, and released me”.
(08/08)- IOF raided the headquarters of Babel printing house, in Halhoul town they searched the office and confiscated the hardwares of the computers, as Soud Ahmad Zama’ra (42 years) the manager of the printing house reported to MADA “on the dawn of (08/08) and around 02:30 am IOF raided Babel printing house that is located in Halhoul, Hebron governorate, the raid took after 30 minutes of calling my brother Saeed, asking him to unlock the headquarters before they break in”.
He added, “They searched the printing house in a barbaric way and searched all equipment, they also asked to be escorted to the office of the printing house they also confiscated the harddrive of two computers, without informing us on the returning dates, when we mentioned it they replied that we can file a complaint to the court, and object the incidence, and left the place at around 04:00am”.
(11/08)- Palestinian preventive service in Qalqilieh arrested the freelance journalist Ragheed Mohammad Tubsieh (23years) as his sister reported to MADA “we received an order by the preventive security forces at our house that is located in Qalqilieh on 11/08 to arrest my brother Ragheed, but by that time my brother was still in Ramallah, hence they called him on spot informing him to present himself to preventive security service headquarters once he is back from Ramallah, based on an arrest warrant”.
She also added” currently Ragheed is arrested at the preventive security service headquarters in Qalqilieh upon the governor; he wasn’t informed of the charges against him, most probably he was arrested due to his work as a journalist as he published on Wednesday 7/08 a press release regarding the electricity crisis and the continuous outages.”
After his release Ragheed reported to MADA “I was released on 28/08 after 18 days of arrest under the governor, I remained in a cell, with a regular interrogation did not exceed five sessions, regarding where and with who I work”.
He also added” as I understood, they’re suspicious of a body that directs me in my work, but because no specific charge against me I was released suddenly with no conditions or dates to follow up”.
(12/08)- IOF banned the correspondent of Al-Quds network, and Huna Al Quds, Shatha AbdulRahman Hammad (26years) from travel to participate in a conference in Tunisia, as she was returned from Al-Karamah crossing as she reported to MADA” on Friday morning 12/08 I was heading to Al Karameh Crossing to travel to Jordan and then to Tunisia to participate in the (Arab nationalist youth camp) in Tunisia, and when I arrived to the Israeli border they withhold my passport and asked me to wait in the hall, and after three hours of waiting with no interrogation, when a soldier headed toward me with a military uniform handing me a military order by the Israeli Occupation Intelligence banning me from travel”.
She added” on Sunday 14/08 I filed a complaint in Beit Eil (Headquarters of Israeli administration in the West Bank) to remove the ban so far till today I didn’t receive any response (05/09)”.
(13/08)- Israeli Occupation police handed the freelance journalist Amjad Taher Arafaeh (33years) from Jerusalem, an order of banning him from travel for one month renewable for six months, as he reported to MADA “I was summoned on 13/08 to the police station (Al-Maskubieh) in Jerusalem, once I arrived an Israeli Policeman handed me an order banning me from travel conducted and signed by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, alleging that I pose threat to the security of the state of Israel”.
(14/08)- IOF banned Amir Mahmoud Abu Markhieh (19 years) thephotoghrapher of Radio Oruba website in Hebron, from covering religious rituals for Israeli settlers, they detained him and deleted photos taken by him and forced him to leave the place, as he reported to MADA” While I was at Bab AlZawieh area in Hebron to cover the religious rituals of Israeli settlers in the area, one of the IOF asked me to go to him and to stand by the military jeep and to delete the photos on the camera, and prevented me from filming under the pretext of / incitement against them /, he asked me to put the memory card in the camera and he erased the photos by himself, I was detained for 15 minutes then I was released after making sure that photos were erased”.
(16/08)- Israeli Occupation Authorities banned the correspondent of “Aneen AlQayd” network Bushra Jamal Tawil (23years) from travel to Jordan and was returned from AlKarmeh crossing and handed her a summon by the Israeli Occupation Intelligence as she reported to MADA” Israeli Occupation Authorities banned me from travel on 16/08 Israeli Occupation Intelligence officers handed me on Al-Karameh crossing an order to follow with the Israeli Intelligence on 31/08 where I went as scheduled to Ofer detention center around 9:00am, and I stayed there till 1:00pm when one of the soldiers there informed me that it was postponed till Tuesday 06/09”.
(18/08)- Palestinian police intelligence in Gaza summoned the presenter in “Sawt Alsha’b” local radio station Ahmad Saeed Mohammad (35years) and interrogated him regarding his political criticism program as he reported to MADA”on18/08 the police intelligence office called the manager of Radio Sawt Alsha’b Hassan Jaber and told him that I should go to their headquarters on the other day, upon their request I headed there around 2:00pm of Friday 19/08 and headed to the police intelligence headquarters, where they informed me that the summon wasn’t based on my work as a journalist, but based on several complaint filed by public figures I criticized recently, but they refused to provide me their names, but most of the interrogation was about my program “Nabd Albalad” which I criticize the overall situation in the country, so the conversation was about tackling political topics and lengthening tongue”.
He added” the interrogation lasted for five hours, and then I was released, after signing a legal obligation to abide by law”.
(19/08)- IOF renewed the administrative detentionof the general secretariat member at the Palestine Journalist Syndicate Omar Naji Nazal (54 years) for three months, as his wife Madline Rabadi reported to MADA “I was informed through Omar’s lawyer (Nazal Mahmoud Hassan) on Friday’s afternoon that IOF issued a military order that renews the administrative detention Omar Nazzal for the second time in a row”.
She also added” I learned that the decision was issued as a military order and to be confirmed in ten days at a session by the military court to give it a legal status, once Omar appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court on 8/8 while Omar appealed against the administrative arrest he (the judge) was convinced of the Israeli Occupation intelligence request of continuing of his arrest, and thus he left the matter of renewing his detention to the Israeli Occupation intelligence and this is what happened”
(Note: journalist Omar Nazzal suspended his hunger strike on 22/08/2016 according to his wife).
(20/08)- In Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health issued a circular directed to the departments of public relations and media in hospitals to prevent whereby dealing with media regarding the disclosure of information regarding several issue, one of its clauses stipulates to prevent the reporter of Al- Monitor site, the freelance journalist in Al-Araby TV Mohammed Ahmed Othman (29years) to enter any hospital, as he reported to MADA” I was informed through some friends who work in one hospital in Gaza, that an order by Ministry of Health was circulated to hospitals’ managements banning me from entering hospitals under the supervision of MOH as the first clause stipulates not to interact with any media outlets and institutions regarding several issues”.
He also added” I learned that the order was issued last week, yet it had no date on it that indicate the exact date of issuance, since three years I was banned of entering any coverage inside governmental hospitals based on an oral order”.
Moreover, he added, “ the order was probably based on a television report that was conducted by me about health sector during the month of April 29, in which I addressed the subject on drugs of unknown origin in Gaza and the lack of active ingredient in the composition, but still not sure of the major reason of the ban”.
He also added “one press agency communicated the Ministry of Health yet the spokesman of the ministry Ashraf Al Bizreh denied that such order was issued by the ministry, although he refused to have any conversation with the media regarding this subject”.
(23/08)- Palestinian Security personnel raided the office of trans-media Company and took the journalist Mujahed Mohammad Sa’dy (28 years) the correspondent of “Media Port” network from his office in Trans-Media and interrogated him regarding his work as a journalist, as he reported to MADA” they raided Tran-Media offices that is located in Nablus where I work, they took me to the special operation room of the Palestinian Intelligence in Nablus, and there they confiscated my mobile, and interrogated me regarding the party I work for, and the photos I captured through the demonstration against security services executing Izz Halaweh, after arresting him and detaining him at Aljuneid prison in Nablus today’s morning”.
He also added,” I stayed under interrogation for an hour and a half before releasing me and returning my personal mobile”.
(23/08)- IOF detained the correspondent of “Saw’t Al Asra” local radio station Eman Rushdi Taher Alselawi (33years) and banned her from covering events at Arrabah town (north of West Bank), after erasing all photos she captured and smashed her personal mobile, as she reported to MADA” on 23/08 around 11:00am IOF stormed Arraba town Jenin governorate in order to arrest someone, clashes erupted by then between Palestinians and IOF who targeted us with gas bombs excessively”.
She added” I went out to cover the events while live on air one of the IOF caught me and took me to the military jeep and there they confiscated my mobile and personal camera, I was detained for half an hour, and then they returned my mobile broken as they throw it hard on ground, and returned my camera after erasing all the photos”.
(24/08)- Palestinian Intelligence service arrested a media student at Birzeit University Osama Fakhoury (20 years) and the driver who accompanied him during filming sights at Al Bireh City in favor of “Aneen Al-Qayd network” as the correspondent of the network Bushra Tawil reported to MADA around 02:15 pm of 24/08 Osama accompanied with the car driver to shoot some pictures and captions at the entrance of Al-Bireh city in order to conduct a report for Aneen Al-Qayd network, we lost connection with them as I tried to call them at noon, I waited till 9:00pm then I informed the driver’s family that they are missing, and then we started searching on them in all police stations and general intelligence, as we finally were informed that they were arrested by the intelligence office at their headquarters at Al balou’ (neighborhood at Al-Bireh) during the process of filming under a pretext of entering a secured zone in Al Bireh”.
She also added “ the car driver was released, while Fakhoury remained imprisoned till 31/08, then he was released yet all filming equipment were confiscated, estimated value of all confiscated equipment around 40 thousand shekels including ( video-camera, 3 lenses, one mike and a stand”.
(25/08)- Israeli Occupation Authorities sentenced the cameraman of Trans-media Company and AlNajah Chanel Hazem Imad Naser (26years) who was arrested since 11/04/2016 for 8 months of actual imprisonment and a bale 3000 shakels, after accusing him of several charges, including the communication with media institutions which Israel considered as prohibited as his cousin Mohammad Naser reported to MADA” a session at the court was set on 25/08 for Hazem through which they sentenced him with 8 months of imprisonment and a bale 3000 shakels, without revealing any charges, claiming that his file is secret”.
As his father reported to MADA” they accused Hazem in several charges including communications with prohibited media institution, as Al-Aqsa Chanel, and Palestine Today Chanel”.
As Mohammad Naser his cousin reported in a different statement to MADA regarding the details of arresting his cousin Hazem ”they arrested my cousin Hazem on the afternoon of (11/04/2016 from a flying checkpoint near Nablus, after detaining him and the working car that belongs to Trans-Media Company, for half an hour, he was transported to Qadomim Military camp, where we received a phone call from one of the Israeli Occupation officers demanding us to go there and take the car and that was around 10:00pm”
He also added” we informed complaint department and the red cross, center for prisoners affairs, and the journalists syndicate, that his detention at first was renewed for 11 days till 24/04 and once again in 24/04 for nine days, they continued renewing his arrest more than once without informing anyone of his charges, claiming that his file is secret”.
(26/08)- the Internal Security service in Gaza Strip continued withholding several personal devices that belongs to the journalist Mahmoud Naseem Abu Awwad after releasing him following his imprisonment that lasted for 2days as Abu Awwad reported to MADA “ I was released on 26/08 without being informed of my charges, and that happened after arresting me for a whole month (he was arrested on 24/07), although I wasn’t informed of the following up dates but my personal portable laptop and two mobiles remained confiscated”.
(28/08)- Public Prosecution summoned the journalist Hajar Mohammad Harb (31 years) a journalist at Arabi TV, and directed her with several charges regarding a report she conducted on the corruption of health transfer system, as she reported to MADA “I was called for summon by the public prosecution in Gaza Strip around 10 am on 28/08 around 12:00pm I arrived to their offices accompanied with Al-Mezan Lawyer Mirvat Nahhal where I was informed of five charges including:
1) Impersonate, contrary to article 274 of the Penal Code.
2) Mug against the Ministry of Health Contrary to Article 201-203, punishable by Article 47 of the Penal Code.
3) Dissemination of inaccurate information, regarding corruption in the Ministry of Health, contrary to Article 25-26 of Press and publications Palestinian Law punishable by article 44 of the same law.
4) Imprecision and caution in publishing information that rose grudges against the Ministry of Health contrary to article 48 of the press and publications Law through releasing a report that rose grudges against MOH.
5) accusation of association with a foreign entity to operate, in contrary to articles 10-48 through a media organization has no restrictions in the Gaza Strip through media and government office.
She noted that the multiplicity of the arguments advanced to justify prosecution describing "as issued by the Government Information Office, they filed a complaint against me because I asked to go to the prosecution - which is illogical - In another pretext they claimed that it / it wasn’t a complaint but a memorandum directed to the public prosecutor to summon me to identify my sources, another time they claimed (the government Information Office) they accusing me of an unprofessional investigative report, and another one that the Arabi TV channel (owner of the investigation) is not registered with the government Information Office. "
She added "I stayed with the prosecutor till 01:00 pm and released with personal guarantee as I pledged to present myself at their office anytime they summon me, the case has been registered under No. 123/2016 at the prosecution office, that will be transferred to the court, which will officially inform me of the date of the hearing and brought before a judge”.
(31/08)- IOF shut down “Al Sanabel” radio station after storming its headquarters in Dura city-Hebron, smashing and confiscating its belongings and equipment, and arresting 5 of its staff as a member of its BoD Wajdy Mohammad Goraz (30years) reported to MADA” around 2:00am of 31/08/2016 a troop of IOF around (15 military jeeps) surrounded the headquarters of Al Sanabel radio station in Dura City Center in Hebron after destructing its front door”.
He also added” the broadcast engineer Hamed Namourah (25years) who was at the headquarters by that time and was arrested, while the director of the channel Ahmad Sameh Darawish (23years) and the announcers Montaser Mohammad Nassar (23years) Nidal Omar (23years) and Mohammad Akram Omran (23years) were all arrested from their houses”.
Goraz clarified” IOF confiscated all equipment that existed in the headquarters including (broadcasting device, mixer, personal computers/4, portable laptops/2, mikes/3, TV screens/2, one router, one fiber device for net) and they destructed all the remained equipment at the headquarters, they hanged an order at the front door of the station after welding the door, that stipulates to shut down the radio station for three months alleging the radio station od receiving funds from Hamas as mentioned in the military order, due to the fact that yesterday we launched a campaign to rebuild houses of prisoners detained in Israeli prisons (that were demolished in Dura).”
Bayan Jabareen, wife of Muntaser Abdul Kareem Nassar one of the radio station announcers reported to MADA” IOF raided our house (after shutting down the radio station by IOF), although Muntaser was out of the house, they detained all our family members in one room, and the officer asked us where is Muntaser, he informed him that he is not home, and his father due to their request called him, as soon as he arrived (Muntaser) they handcuffed him and entered him into the house and asked him about his personal laptop and mobile, they confiscated them, blindfolded him and arrested him immediately.”
She also added,”that right after raiding the house they searched his room while he wasn’t home”.
Hanadi Rujoub wife of Mohammad Omran reported to MADA” Mohammad was arrested from our house in Durra at around 04:00am today after storing Al Sanbel radio station headquarters, they didn’t search the house or confiscate anything”.