Group: Israeli measures to close Al-Jazeera office a flagrant violation of freedom of expression

PNN/ Ramallah/

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its deep concern about the systematic Israeli escalation of the suppression of media freedoms and silencing the press in Palestine, to obscure their repressive policies and practices and to conceal the image of what is happening from world public opinion. The latest was the Israeli government’s attempts to close the office of Al-Jazeera in the occupied city of Jerusalem, which is a blatant violation of freedom of expression.

The Israeli Ministry of Communication announced on Sunday their plans to close the office of Al-Jazeera channel in Jerusalem, accusing it as the most influential satellite channel in the regional media scene of “incitement” and “bias” in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In a statement issued by the ministry, in which they revealed their attempts to cancel of Al-Jazeera journalist’s licenses and that Israel’s internal security minister would begin taking measures to close the channel’s offices in Jerusalem. Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Qara, who leads the campaign with the support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called on cable providers to stop broadcasting Al-Jazeera, ahead of an official Israeli decision to close the offices of Al-Jazeera.

Al-Qara, speaking at a news conference yesterday, said he had asked the government press office to cancel the Media credentials of Al-Jazeera journalists in Israel. He added: “He intends to initiate a change in the law enacted in the 1980s to suit the geopolitical reality, so that the law grants the government extraordinary powers by preferring the security of its citizens and the safety and security of the public.”

MADA expressed its condemnation of the incitement campaign, and the Israeli efforts which aims at closing Al-Jazeera’s offices in Jerusalem, and called on various international and human rights institutions, especially those concerned with the freedom of press and expression, to pressure the Israeli occupation government to put an end to its attacks on media freedoms, and stressed that the Israeli move against Al-Jazeera is part of a formal policy of repression which targets press freedoms in Palestine in order to obscure Israeli practices and policies, Which was clearly evident in dozens of Israeli attacks on media and journalists during their coverage of recent events in the occupied city of Jerusalem.