Violations of media freedoms in oPt during July 2010
MADA: serious deterioration in media freedoms in oPt during last July
3 August 2010
There was a serious deterioration in media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories last July. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has monitored a lot of violations against journalists and media outlets, which were committed by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, as well as Palestinian security forces in Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The Israeli occupation forces attacked: Associated Press photographer Nasser Shyoukhi, France Press Agency photographer Mousa Alshaér, Pal Media cameraman Samer Hamad, Maan News Agency photographer Luay Sababa, Al-Quds TV cameraman Akram Natshe, Agency France Press photographer Hazem Bader, Routers photographer Abdul Rahim Al-Aqusini, Pal Media cameraman Amer Abdean, Middle East Agency photographer Najeh Hashlamoun, and Associated Press photographer Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun three times. The settlers also attacked Agency France Press photographer Jaafar Ishtiyeh and the correspondent of WAFA News Agency, Ayman Al-Nubani. In addition the Israeli forces detained Reuter’s photographer Yousry El-Jamal, Associated Press photographer Hazem Bader, France Press photographer Mousa Alshaer, Maan News Agency photographer Luay Sababa, and Associated Press photographer Iyad Hamad
On the other hand, in last July there was a worrisome increase of attacks on press freedom, especially in Gaza Strip, where MADA center monitored many violations, which are: the three daily newspapers (Al-Hayat Aljadedeh, Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds) were banned to enter Gaza Strip by the dismissed government, the prevention of Alshu’la newspaper chief editor Saher Alaqra’ and the correspondent of Sawt Falesteen Radio (Palestinian public radio) Tamim Abu Muammar from traveling to Egypt , the detention of the dean of Media faculty in Aqsa university Dr. Ahmad Hamad and the Greek director Bindles Baba Byblos in Beit Hanoun, the prevention of Agency France Press photographer Mohammed Al-Baba from covering a march for “ Hizb Al-Tahrir” in Alnasser area in Gaza, the summon of Wafa Agency correspondent Hussam Almughani and the chief editor of Siyasat magazine Atef Abu Seif to investigation in Gaza, and the raid of WATAN TV headquarters in Ramallah city.
MADA condemns all violations of media freedoms in Palestinian territories, and considers it a flagrant violation of article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. MADA stresses on the need for international and human rights institutions intervention to pressure the Israeli government to stop the attacks on journalists during their coverage of the weekly peaceful marches in the West Bank, which has become a great suffering for them, and a threat to their lives.
MADA demands the Palestinian concerned authorities, especially in Gaza strip to stop the violations of media freedoms, and the continued harassment of journalists, and to allow the journalists to travel and move freely. In addition to allow the newspapers to be printed and distributed freely in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
MADA center also condemns the raid of the headquarters of the Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate in Gaza by unknown individuals and stealing a computer from the headquarters, and expresses its concern at the increasing incidents of raiding the headquarters of NGOs in the Gaza Strip
Details of violations:
(7. July) the three daily newspapers (Al-Hayat Aljadedeh, Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds) were banned from entering Gaza Strip by the dismissed government. The Israeli occupation authorities have allowed the three daily newspapers to enter Gaza Strip on Monday evening 5 July 2010, after banning them from entering there since late 2008.
The chairman of Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and editorial director of Al-Ayyam newspaper Abdel Nasser Alnajar said: "We categorically reject to force the newspaper’s officials to sign a document which ensures that the newspapers will not criticize Hamas and the situation in the Gaza Strip in order to allow them to enter Gaza. Hamas had unofficially asked the officials of the newspapers to sign on that, and when we try to contact Hamas’s officials they refused to talk or to comment on that, and so far we do not get any official information from them”. Palestinian sources said that the authorities in Gaza require the owners of the daily newspapers which published in the West Bank, to sign a pledge not to criticize Hamas government harshly, and to allow Felesteen and Al-Risalah newspapers to be printed and distributed in the West Bank, where they were denied that since the mid-June 2007.
(9. July) Alshu’la newspaper chief editor Saher Alaqra’ was preventing from traveling to Egypt. Alaqra’ said that he was banned from traveling to Egypt via Rafah crossing to complete his master studies in media in 6 October University, by people whose working with the dismissed government, where they confiscated his passport and tearing his identity card on Friday, 9 July 2010. When he asked them why they preventing him from traveling, the answer was: "because you belong to Dayton government and Fateh".
(9. July) Sawt Falesteen Radio (Palestinian Public Radio) correspondent Tamim Abu Muammar was prevented from traveling to Egypt by the internal security in the dismissed government. Abu Muammar said that he went to the Rafah crossing on Friday, 9 June 2010 to travel to Egypt, and when he handed his passport to the security of the crossing, one of the officials there came and asked him to go to the Internal Security office in the passenger terminal. Abu Muammar added: "There, they told me that I was banned from travel, because there is recommendation from higher authorities, and when I asked them to give me an official paper stating that, they refused".
(10. July) Associated Press photographer Nasser Shyoukhi was injured in Gas bomb in his back, while he was covering the weekly march in Beit Omar near Hebron. Shyoukhi said that he went to cover the weekly march in Beit Omar on Saturday, 10 July 2010, and while he was covering one of the soldiers threw a Gas bomb on his back, so he lost his consciousness. Shyoukhi added: “the soldiers prevented my colleagues from helping me, and they beat me all the time until I lost my consciousness again".
(11. July) The dean of Media faculty in Aqsa University Dr. Ahmad Hamad and the Greek director Bindles Baba Byblos were detained after filming a wedding in Beit Hanoun (Gaza Strip). Hamad said that he went on Sunday evening, 11 July 2010 to Beit Hanoun, accompanied by lecturer Mohammad Abu Odeh, and the director Byblos to film a wedding there to conclude it in a documentary film about the life of citizens in Gaza. Hamad added: "After we finished filming we left the wedding around11 pm, but we were surprised that the police were waiting for us. They asked us about the tape which the director filmed, and when I asked them why? They answered: because you have filmed without permission, and conducted an interview with the father of the groom. And after an argument they took us to a police station in Beit Hanoun, and after they searched the car and watched the tape, the Superintendent Detective said “the tape is normal and does not have anything to harm the government. But another person interfered and said that the groom’s fathers hold the government the responsibility for poverty, unemployment and hunger in the Gaza.” After many calls they release us after hour and a half of detention”.
(13. July) France Press Agency photographer Mohammed Al-Baba was prevented from covering a march for “Hizb Al-Tahrir” in Alnasser area in Gaza. Al-Baba said that he was filming a march of “Hizb Al-Tahrir” in Alnasser area/ Maqqousi Towers on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 5:00 PM, during the filming, a group belonging to the criminal investigation police unit attacked him and confiscated his personal stuff (camera - laptop – mobile ), and they took him to the police station in Alshate’ area. After detaining him for an hour they asked him to sign a pledge that he won’t publish any picture about the march’s event, because there is a superior order banning media converge of the march.
(16. July) A group of journalists were attacked, on Friday, 16 July 2010, by the Israeli occupation forces, they include: Associated Press photographer Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun, France Press Agency photographer Mousa Alshaér, Pal Media cameraman Samer Hamad, Maan News Agency photographer Luay Sababa, and Al-Quds TV cameraman Akram Natshe; while they were covering a peaceful march in the village of Alma’sara near Bethlehem city. Hashlamoun said he went on Friday with a group of journalists to cover the weekly march of Alma’sara near the city of Bethlehem, where the Israeli army started throwing sound and gas bombs between the legs of journalists, causing them not to focus in photography and a serious bottleneck from gas smell. Hashlamoun added: "There were a group of Israeli soldiers their mission was to impede the journalist’s work and to evacuate them from the area".
(17. July) Agency France Press photographers Hazem Bader, Reuters Agency Abdul Rahim Al-Aqusini, and Associated Press Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun, were attacked by Israeli occupation forces in the town of Beit Omar Near Hebron, on Saturday 17 July 2010. Al-Aqusini said that he was standing with a group of photographers to cover the march of Beit Omar, during that time one of the Israeli soldiers throw a sound bomb from a close distance at him, so it hit him under his left ear, which caused him the loss of consciousness and a hole in his left eardrum and his main auditory nerve. Al-Aqusini added: "I’m still hearing a sensation in my ears and sometimes I feel the inability to focus".
Bader said: "it was very bad day for journalists; we were targeted directly by the officer and soldiers. Personally the officer threatened me then he beat me with a stick on my face and legs, causing me a wound in my nose and cheek and bruises on my left leg, and I wasn’t able to stand, the harder thing was when the officer prevented my colleagues from helping me. The officer also struck my colleague Hashlamoun with iron sound bomb on his back causing him bruises in the back".
(17. July) Associated Press photographer Iyad Hamad, was detained while he was covering a peaceful march in the town of Beit Omar Near Hebron, on Saturday 17 July 2010. Hamad said that the Israeli soldiers arrested him because he protested about the beating of his colleague Hazem Bader, where the soldiers took him and made him sit on the ground for two hours under the sun. During that the Israeli settlers who were in the area insulted and provoked him.
(17. July) Watan TV headquarters were raided by members of the Palestinian security forces in Ramallah city, after the television broadcast images of Hizb Al-Tahrir political party march. Watan General director Muammar Orabi said that armed individuals in civilian clothes who identified themselves as security and intelligence members raided Watan headquarters on Saturday 17 July 2010 around 5:00 PM, demanding the arrest of the journalists who covered the march of Hizb Al-Tahrir; they also wanted to confiscate the tape that they have recorded. Orabi added: "After a verbal argument and some calls they have gone back and evacuated the building".
(21. July) Siyasat Magazine chief Atef Abu Seif was summoned for investigation on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 by the internal security in the dismissed government. Abu Seif said to MADA’s legal advisor in Gaza that he had gone on Wednesday at 10:00 AM to the headquarters of the internal security in Jabalya area on receipt of a summon request from the Internal Security in Jabalya, and upon his arrival to the center he was taken blindfolded into a jail. Then the security members ordered him to stand in a queue with other people that he did not know. During that one of the security members beat one of the detainees, and then he asked him why you are laughing? Abu Seif replied: I do not laugh at people whom being beaten. After that the security man directly beat him. Then he was returned to the cell until 9:00 PM then he was released to return back on Thursday 22 July 2010 at eight in the morning. Abu Seif said: "In the next day morning I was detained from 8:00 AM until 11:00 AM and I was blindfolded, and no one investigated me, but I was released to come back on Monday, 26 July 2010." On Monday Abu Seif was detained blindfolded about an hour, after that they ordered him to sign a paper “to not breach the security”, and then he was released.
(23. July) Agency France Press photographer Mousa Alshaer, and Maan News Agency photographer Luay Sababa were detained by the Israeli occupation forces, in Alma’sra area near Bethlehem. Alshaer said that he went to cover Alma’sra weekly march Alma’sra, south of Bethlehem on Friday 23 July 2010, and when he arrived there the Israeli occupation army detained him with his colleague Sababa, to prevent them from filming, and after the march, which lasted about three hours, they released them.
(23. July) Reuters photographer Yousry El-Jamal, and Associated Press photographer Hazem Bader were detained by the Israeli occupation forces in the Bouira area near Hebron. El-Jamal said that he went on Friday 23 July 2020, to cover the settlers confiscation of Palestinian land in the Bouira area, near Hebron, and while he was filming with his colleague Bader, one of the Israeli occupation soldiers said to them: "This is a closed military zone, where photography is forbidden", they asked him: do you have a military order to do this? Instead of answering their question he detained them inside a military jeep for two hours, during that he prevented them from talking or making phone calls. After that, he released them, but he threatened that if they returned to the area they will be arrested immediately.
(24. July) The Middle East Agency photographer Najeh Hashlamoun was attacked by throwing a gas bomb on him from close range, when he was covering the weekly march in Beit Omar near Hebron. Hashlamoun said that he went Saturday morning 24 July 2010 to cover the weekly march in Beit Omar, after the arrival of the demonstrators to the Israeli checkpoint; the Israeli army began throwing tear gas bombs on demonstrators heavily. Gas grenade was shot at close range in his back, causing him to lose consciousness for a short period.
(25. July) WAFA news agency correspondent Hussam Almughani was summoned by the internal security forces in the dismissed government. WAFA reported in a statement that Almughani has been summoned by the Internal Security in Abu Khadra for investigation On Sunday, 25 July 2010, and when he went there he was detained for six hours, during that he was subjected to harsh and insult in absence words. After that he was released to return to the internal security headquarters next day, Wednesday 28 July 2010. Almughani could not be contacted by MADA’s legal adviser, who was informed that they had confiscated his computer and his cell phone.
(26. July) France Press Agency photographer Jaafar Ishtiyeh and the correspondent of WAFA News Agency Ayman Al-Nubani were attacked in Burin village near Nablus city in the West Bank, by a group of Israeli settlers. Ishtiyeh said that he went to cover clashes between Burin village citizens and Israeli settlers, after the settlers attacked the village lands on Monday 26 July 2010. When he was standing with his colleague Al-Nubani to cover the confrontations, a group of settlers throw stones at them, causing them bruises and wounds all over their bodies.
(31. July) Associated Press photographer Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun and Pal Media cameraman Amer Abdean were attacked during their coverage to a weekly march in Beit Omar in the city of Hebron, by the Israeli occupation forces. Hashlamoun said that he went on Saturday 31 July 2010 to cover the march events, and while he was filming, the soldiers beat him, then they threw gas bombs towards him, so he was suffocated. Abdean said that he was filming the march, during that the soldiers threw three gas bombs between his leg from a close distance (about 20 meter) so he lost his consciousness and fell on the ground. Abdean added: “In addition to a serious suffocation, I was injured in my chest and in my arms from fallen in the ground, I was taken to Al-Ahli hospital in Hebron for treatment”.
Riham Abu Aita
Public Relation Officer
00970 2 2976519