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“MADA”: On World Press Freedom Day, Media Freedoms in Palestine Are Still Under Attack

Ramallah (03/05/2020) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” sends the warmest congratulations to journalists in Palestine and around the world on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day which falls today. Also, “MADA” expresses its appreciation to the journalists and the media, who continued to do their professional duty, despite the danger posed by Covid-19 pandemic, and its negative repercussions on the situation of the media.

Although 27 years have passed since the Universal Declaration of Freedom of the Press, media freedoms in Palestine are still subject to constant, and sometimes systematic, attacks, especially by the Israeli occupation, which targeted the press since the beginning of the occupation in 1967.

Journalists and media outlets in Palestine are still paying a heavy price for their tireless work in covering events by word and image. During the past year (2019), “MADA” has monitored and documented a total of 678 violations against media freedoms in Palestine; 297 attacks by the Israeli occupation forces and authorities, 181 violations were committed by social media companies, and 200 violations were committed by various Palestinian parties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “MADA” pointed out that the high number of violations came as a result of the violations committed by social media companies (Facebook specifically) against Palestinian content and the targeting of news pages and accounts of journalists and media workers. These attacks affected a total of 503 journalists, including 456 male journalists and 47 female journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As for the first four months of the year 2020, there is a noticeable decrease in the number of violations, especially during the past month due to the spread of the Corona epidemic, where a total of 104 attacks were recorded against media freedoms, of which 59 were committed by the Israeli occupation, while Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip 26 violations, and 17 violations were committed by Facebook Company.

It should be noted that ten years ago, the Palestinian journalists and media were subjected to an average of 18 attacks in a month. This gradually increased until in the year 2019, where there was an average of 56.5 attacks every month, meaning that Palestinian journalists and media are exposed to an average of one assault every 12.7 hours.

“MADA” Center reaffirms the continuation and strengthening of its efforts to protect media freedoms along with various institutions and partners in Palestine and the world, and calls on the international community to exert more pressure in order to protect media freedoms and journalistic work, release of the detained journalists, hold the perpetrators of attacks against journalists accountable, stop their impunity and bring them to justice, and support the media that suffered great losses.

Additionally, “MADA” Center renews its demand for the Palestinian authorities to end the state of division, stop violations against media freedoms, amend the Cyber Crime Law and approve the Law of Access to Information after the end of the emergency period, and the need for internet providers to stop blocking of websites as the legal period of the decision has ended.