Report: Social media “a new venue to censor and prosecute journalists”

PNN/ Ramallah/

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” released a special report on prosecutions of Palestinian journalists relating to what they post on social media sites.

The report, titled “Social Media … A New Venue to Censor and Prosecute Journalists” which illustrates how social media websites are an efficient and wide window to empower journalists and Palestinians in general to express their opinions freely, was set under the last recent year to a systematic surveillance and observation by Israeli Occupation Authorities and Palestinian Officials and non official parties both in (West Bank and Gaza Strip), as throughout the last two years oppression and prosecution against social sites users escalated dramatically, that became an open platform for prosecution and oppression relating to users opinions.

Subsequently, several Palestinian journalists were detained and interrogated and hundreds of activists and citizens.

Rather than all Israeli practices that aimed to put pressure on Facebook company, through a recent partnership agreement to delete comments, photos and even block personal and informative pages under the pretext of exercising incitement against occupation.
MADA General Director Mousa Rimawi, stated that “the report released by MADA, monitored 70 violations (61 violations committed by different Palestinian apparatuses and 9 violation by IOF) against journalists related to what they post on social media sites, since the beginning of 2014 till end of May 2016, noting that abovementioned statistics doesn’t include activists and Palestinian citizensl”.

The continued escalation of Palestinian violations associated to posts on social networking sites compared to the Israeli violations is attributed to the difference in the distribution of the Israeli and Palestinian violations on the map, pointing out that “most of the Israeli violations aginst media freedoms, which outnumbered the Palestinian ones were considered as the gravest and most serious physical abuses. (Check MADA’s annual report for the year 2015 and other reports of the center).

Moreover Rimawi added, widening circle of prosecution committed by Israeli occupation authorities to suppress what is published by Palestinians through social networking through oppression and pressure and understandings with Facebook company, resulted in blocking not less than 20 personal pages and other Palestinian informative pages, following Israeli demands that aim to ban releasing or publishing any information photos or news related to Israeli Occupation practices”.

He stressed that the high-risk lies in that other states might follow the “Israeli model” which would constitute a serious threat to freedom of expression at the international level, which requires concerted efforts of all institutions specialized in defending freedom of expression to stop this trend.

He also noted that some of the Palestinian prosecution operations related to what is published on social networking sites are sometimes associated with the practice of violent pressure amounting to torturing some journalists, rather than other violations as accessing to journalists pages and forcing them to disclose their personal pages passwords and inspecting their own devices.

Finally he added “any prosecution or summoning of journalists’ hardly devoid exposing social media sites subject and what they publish, accessing to personal accounts or even threatening and warning those prosecuted and interrogated”.

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