Ramallah- 3/10/2014- MADA: September has witnessed a limited number of violations against journalists comparing to July and August, which witnessed the bloodiest and most severe violations in the history of the Palestinian media. These bloody violation committed in the previous months were due to what the Israeli occupation forces have committed during their attack on the Gaza Strip, which resulted the death of 17 journalists and media workers as well as the injured and the destruction of media outlets.
The Palestinian center for Development and Media Freedoms monitored a number of violations against journalists and freedom of expression committed by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. All of these violations were committed in the West Bank, where a number of them were against journalists and media workers and the other violations were against civilians for expressing their views through social media.
The Israeli occupation forces continued attacking Palestinian journalists; the most severe was targeting the AFP photographer and shooting him with a bullet after he was covering the IOF killing two Palestinians in Hebron on 23/9. Also beating, detaining and investigating with Ro’ya TV correspondent Ahmad Barahme (aged 24) and Zeinat Al-Quds network Riyad Qadriyye for around 5 hours. They both were heading off for a journalistic tour in Jerusalem. On 24/9 the IOF also assaulted Al-Falastiniyya TV cameraman and the journalist at Panet agency Ahmad Jalajel (aged 35) as well as Quds Net agency photojournalist Diala Jwehan and tried to prevent them from covering the procedures taken by the IOF in Jerusalem during Jewish feast celebrations.
The Intelligence service in Bethlehem arrested the political activist and Asda’ correspondent Qutaiba Saleh Qasem (aged 26). They detained him for 24 hours and investigated with him about his posts on Facebook on 7/9. On 19/9 The Palestinian intelligence service and national security officers arrested “Filisteen Al-Yaum” TV producer Mujahed Mohammad Al-Sa’di (aged 26) in Jenin, detained him for 36 hours and investigated with him about his posts on Facebook. In Tulkarem they detained the freelance journalist Yazeed Khader (aged 50) for 24 hours after investigating with him. The preventive security forces arrested the journalism student at Birzeit University and the head of media club Bara’ Al-Qadi (aged 22) for nine days for his writings on Facebook. They also arrested other citizens for their writings on Facebook.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns all these violations committed against journalists, media workers and activists. MADA demands the international community to put pressure on the Israeli government to end these violations against journalists and to guarantee their right to cover the events and to express their opinion freely.
MADA demands the Palestinian security forces again to stop prosecution of journalists and social media activists for their views, especially that the basic law guarantees the freedom of expression. Besides, there is no justification for the detention policy, since the law gives anyone the right to litigate in cases of defamation. Besides, the trend worldwide is towards either not implementing existing provisions allowing arrest and prosecution of journalists and those who express publicly their opinion, or amending national legislations to prohibit explicitly such measures. MADA also urges journalists and activists to improve the wording of their criticism and avoid using insults, libel and blasphemous language.
MADA also expresses its concern and rejection of ejection of Israeli newspapers “Haaretz” correspondent Amira Hass from Birzeit University. Hass is well known for her professional coverage of the violations against human right of Palestinian people. As well as the attack committed by Al-Najah University security against a number of students who protested against the visit of the American Consulate members. The assault caused a break in the student Mohammad Abu Awwad’s hand, besides injuries to other students, especially that freedoms should be guaranteed for all inside the universities campuses.