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Media Freedoms Violations in Palestine During December 2014

terça-feira 13 de janeiro de 2015, por MADA,

The occupation authorities has escalated chasing the Palestinians for their writings on Facebook; they also continued the physical assault against journalists; where shooting Palestine Public TV cameraman Mahmoud Nazzal with an explosive bullet is considered the most dangerous violation.

December 2014 has witnessed another escalation in the violations on media freedoms comparing with November; where the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has monitored 30 violations against media freedoms in Palestine.

This escalation of violations shows that freedom of expression is narrowing, and increases difficulties in front of journalists and freedom of expression.

The occupation authorities has escalated chasing the Palestinians for their writings on Facebook; they also continued the physical assault against journalists; where shooting Palestine Public TV cameraman Mahmoud Nazzal with an explosive bullet is considered the most dangerous violation.

Besides that, it was clear that December witnessed an escalation in the Palestinian violations against journalists, media students and activists for their writings on Facebook. There were new types of violations; where in Gaza a statement had been distributed in name of (ISIS) accusing 18 journalists, poets and writers of apostasy and threating them with killing if they did not return to Islam in 3 days.

The Israeli violations:

Besides targeting Palestine Public TV cameraman Bashar Nazzal (aged 36) with an explosive bullet while covering a demonstration against settlements in Kafr Qadoum, the IOF assaulted Ro’ya TV cameraman and director Mohammad Dar Zaid and prevented him from covering an even of planting olive trees in Turmus Ayya village east of ramallah. On 23/12 the Associated Press cameraman Iyad Hammad and other 6 journalists: Munjed Jado, Samer Maghribi (PalMedia cameraman), Mahmoud Elayyan, Musa Qawasme, Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoon and Ahmad Mizher suffered suffocation as a result of the Israeli stun and teargas grenades.

The IOF arrested Asda’ news website correspondent Qutaiba Qassem from the "Container" checkpoint north Hebron. They also arrested the British associations "In the mind" and "You Free" photojournalist and the director of Palestine’s Prisoners Center Osama Shahin, the Israeli settlers and some Israeli soldiers assaulted Bait Al-Maqdes agency and Himma News agency correspondent Liwa’ Abu Rmeleh (aged 23). On the same day, the IOF arrested the photojournalist Abdul Afo Zughayer from Jerusalem while he was covering events in the city, and on 27/12 a unit from the IOF raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Awad and handed a summon to him.

The Israeli Authority prevented a member of secretariat at the Palestinian Journalist syndicate and the manager of Clacket for media Omar Nazzal (aged 53) from travelling through Al-Karama Bridge without giving him any reason, even though he was travelling to Jordan 2 weeks before they prevented him.

The Israeli authority also continued chasing more activists and escalated their violations against them for their writings on Facebook; where they arrested 8 Palestinians from Jerusalem for their writings on Facebook.

Palestinian violations:

December witnessed unprecedented violations; the most dangerous was the distribution of a statement in Gaza in name of (ISIS), accusing 18 journalists and writers of apostasy and threatening them if they do not return to Islam in three days.

The statement included the names of the following journalists poets and writers were targeted: Dunia Al-Amal Ismael, Khaled Jum’a, Ali Abu Khattab, Dua’ Kamal, Iyad Al-Bal’awi, Atef Abu Saif, Hussam Ma’rouf, Mohammad Al-Sheik Yousef, Othman Hussein, Nidal Al-Fq’awi, Akram Al-Sorani, Yousef Al-Qadra, Sahar Mousa, Samah Al-Sheik Deeb, Manal Miqdad, Ahmad Yaqoub, Naser Rabah, Wissam Oweida. The statement was sent to their emails before being distributed, and it should be pointed that 4 of them are journalists (Dunia Ismael, Atef Abu Saif, Akram Sorani and Samah Al-Sheikh).

Journalist Ahmad Zaki has been dismissed from his position as a manager of the news section at the Palestinian Public TV for criticizing in his page on facebook the Egyptian Fara’in TV manager Tawfiq Okasha, and Palestinian TV for hosting him.

A number of arresting and summoning for interrogations were monitored in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; where the preventive security arrested Baha’ Al-Jayyousi from Tulkarem on 2/12 , after two weeks of being summoned by the Palestinian intelligence service accusing him of vilifying VIPs on Facebook. The preventive security also arrested the media student at Quds University Islam Za’al (aged 23) on 3/12 for publishing inciting news against the Palestinian authority on Facebook.

A unit of the preventive security forces stormed the house of the media student at Quds University Amer Abu Hlayel (aged 22) and searched it on 5/12, before they left they handed an arrest order to his family for his writings on Facebook. The Preventive security forces also committed violations against a number of journalists as following: they summoned the freelance journalist Ameer Abu Aram (aged 23) and interrogated him on 9/12, they also raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Awad to arrest him but his family did not allow them on 10/12, besides, they filed a complaint for the general prosecution in Nablus against Al-Quds TV producer and Al-Safir newspaper correspondent Majdolin Hassoune and interrogated her for her writings on Facebook accusing her of vilifying VIPs on 14/12.

The preventive security also arrested Wattan correspondent Aysar Barghouthi from his house in Kafr Ain north Ramallah on 28/12. Four men assaulted the freelance journalist Muath Amleh and beat him after he received two threats for his writings against Qabalan municipality on 29/12. The Preventive Security Forces summoned the journalist at Ahrar Al-Asra center and human rights Mahmoud Milhim (aged 26) on 3/12but he did not go to their headquarters.

On 12/12 he Palestinian security forces prevented Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Ala’ Al-Titi (aged 32) and his colleague the cameraman Mahmoud Abu Yousif from covering a festival organized by Hamas in Hebron. They detained Al-Titi after dragging him to the Intelligence service headquarters. On the same day the preventive security forces seized the ID of Al-Jazeera net correspondent Awad Rjoub while he was heading to cover the same festival and they tried to prevent him from covering. On 14/12 Quds Press agency correspondent Zaid Abu Arra received a summon from the director of the preventive security through his phone telling him that the apparatus are going to arrest him, and on 21/12 the preventive security forces summoned the media student at Al-Quds University Qutaiba Hamdan, detained, interrogated and beat him.

In Gaza The journalist at Shu’lat Al-I’lam Saher Al-Aqra’ (aged 32) was threatened via messages he received on his email and his cellphone for his writings, and the internal security in Gaza summoned the manager of Reyada media agency Yahya Al-Madhoun and interrogated him.

Recommendations:

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns these violations against journalists and freedom of expression and expresse the concerns on the escalation of these violations with its new dangerous types; which threatens assaulting media freedoms if there was no serious movement to put an end for it.

MADA renews the demand to put an end for impunity of Israeli authority, soldiers and settlers, for their violations committed against media freedoms, especially the targeting of Bashar Nazzal.

MADA also demands the Palestinian officials to put an end for these escalated violations against media freedoms by the security forces, MADA also assures the need of a real investigation for the threat of 18 writers and journalists in Gaza and to pursuit whoever behind these threats, as well as demanding the Palestinian officials to investigate the assault against the freelance journalist Muath Amleh that was committed by known people for his criticism on Facebook. MADA emphasizes on holding all the aggressors accountable.