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MADA: The escalation of violations against journalists is an indication of the low level of media freedoms in Palestine

Ramallah – 6th August 2023. MADA is concerned with the significant escalation of violations against journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alike during the past few days. It believes that the escalation of these violations while journalists are carrying out their professional work is only an indication of the low level of the reality of media freedoms which alerts for great fear for the future of freedoms in general and media freedoms in particular.

The security services of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the Internal Security Forces in Gaza Strip, have increased their aggression against journalists in a violent manner that threatens the professional work of journalists, which is a bad indicator of the reality of media freedoms that is witnessing bloody violations. For instance, the reporter, ALI AL-SAMOUDI, was injured by shrapnel in the head as a result of the shooting in Jenin camp yard, while the citizens were celebrating the shooting attack that took place in "Tel Aviv" yesterday, Saturday. The security personnel also targeted the reporter of "Quds News Network" MOHAMMED ABED with a gas bomb directly at the event.

This was preceded by a group of Al-Shabibah members assaulting a group of journalists at Hebron University a few days ago, during which journalist NIDAL AL-NATSHEH was flagrantly assaulted.

The situation in Gaza Strip is not any better than this, as the attacks of the Internal Security Service affected many journalists yesterday, Saturday, as the security services of Hamas Authority arrested a number of journalists, namely, MOHAMMED AL-BABA, the cameraman of the French Agency, and the journalist, BASHAR TALIB, for about 45 minutes inside Jabalia police station, north of Gaza City, before they were released after their cameras and mobile phones were searched.

The security members also arrested journalist MOHAMMED FAYEZ ABU AOUN, journalist YAHYA HASSOUNA, journalist MOHAMMED AL-HADDAD, and journalist IHAB AL-FASFOUS, who was attacked, and his phone was confiscated before it was returned to him. As for the journalist, MOHAMMED ISMAIL AL-HADDAD, he was threatened by a person in civilian clothes who identified himself as a member of the Investigation Department, as soon as he was filming, and informed him that "there is a decision to ban filming and asked him to stay away from the place”.

Meanwhile, journalist FOUAD JARADA and his colleague MUAMMAR ABU TABIKH were threatened via phone of a special number “not to engage in any journalistic work on the "We Want to Live" movement in Gaza”.

Despite our constant assertion at MADA that the violations of the Israeli occupation are the most dangerous and numerous for the Palestinian journalist, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of Palestinian violations and the continued pursuit and targeting of Palestinian journalists in a manner that violates the law, which confirms the need for the security services to in the West Bank and Gaza to reconsider the manner they deal with journalists while practicing their professional work.

MADA stresses once again the necessity of holding the security services accountable and responsible for these attacks, and holding them responsible as well for punishing those found involved in assaulting journalists at all times and places.