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“MADA” Condemns the Prevention of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath Channels from Working by the Internal Affairs in Gaza Strip

Ramallah (16/7/2020) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” condemns the prevention of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath Channels from working by the Ministry of the Interior in the Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. The Ministry also prevented any journalist from appearing on the two channels’ screens, and threatening to pursue any party that provides media services to the two channels in Gaza.

Ziyad Al-Halabi, Director of Al-Arabiya office in Jerusalem, told “MADA” Center that “Al-Arabiya Channel obtained information and details related to the issue of the escape of a field commander from Hamas to the Israelis. The Channel published the news and asked Hamas leaders to comment on it, but they refused and did not deny the news at the time. Later, Hamas issued a statement talking about / the resistance being distorted /. After that, the official of Al-Arabiya office in the Gaza Strip, Adel Al-Zanoun, received yesterday (15/7/2020) a phone call from the Ministry of Interior in Gaza to close the office of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath Channels. Moreover, the Ministry informed the advertising companies and institutions to stop dealing with the two channels, and it prevented any journalist from appearing on the two channels’ screens.” Al-Halabi also added that he received a text message on his phone via WhatsApp application with the same content.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip issued a statement denying the accuracy of what was reported by Al-Arabiya channel regarding the arrests and escape of a Hamas leader to Israel, and considered it "fabricated news" and accused the channel of "misleading and working to spread rumors and lies."

"MADA" Center condemns the prevention of the Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels from working in the Gaza Strip, and considers it a serious attack on media freedoms. “MADA” calls Gaza Ministry to withdraw its decision and enable the two channels to operate freely, and to stop the various attacks, pressures and violations against freedom of expression, the most recent of which was Thursday morning (16/7/2020). The journalists, Tariq Abu Ishaq and Muthanna Al-Najjar, were arrested in Sharkia Police in Khan Yunis in connection with a video clip of a girl who was accused of forging her high school diploma.