‘Serious violations of media freedom despite decline in numbers’

PNN/ Ramallah/

August-2017 witnessed a significant decline in number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared to July, but the major part of the attacks were significantly grave against media freedoms, the safety of journalists and the work of media outlets. Besides, the arrest of journalists based on the recently adopted (cybercrimes law) law that witnessed wide opposition by human rights organizations and journalists.

August witnessed a total of 25 violations (14 by Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Strip and 11 by Israelis), whereas, July witnessed a high number of violations (a total of 106) as a result of a sharp escalation in Israeli attacks on journalists during their coverage of “Al Aqsa rise ” in East Jerusalem.

Israeli violations:

Israeli Occupation committed during August a total of 11 violations; majority fell under grave violations against media outlets and journalists, hindering their abilities to perform their work professionally, besides the raid and storm of three media outlets including (Menbar Al-Huria radio station, Al-Nawras/ Hebron, free media company and al Quds news, the raid also included destruction and confiscation some of these outlets equipment, besides, the shutdown of Menbar Al-Huria radio,  noting that a total of 56 employees work there, with a total of 500,000$ estimated loss in accordance to their chairman Ayman Qawasmi, which reveals a significant long-term damage caused by such a violation.

One of the most serious and prominent Israeli attacks this month was the targeting of Palestine TV cameraman by an Israeli sniper while he was covering the demolition of a house in the village of Kobar (west of Ramallah). He was seriously wounded by a metal bullet in the nose causing a serious injury, besides, targeting him with another bullet in the thigh.

Palestinian Violations:

Palestinian violations continued declining compared to what was monitored previously in June and July (41/17 total violations respectively), as August witness 14 violations; 12 in West Bank and 2 in Gaza Strip.

Despite the decline of violations committed by Palestinian sides, yet the majority of violations monitored were grave including the arrest of 8 journalists, noting that, one of the cases witnessed inhumane treatment and one case of beating during interrogation.

What was noticeable in such arrests that although most of the cases were related to the internal political division, yet some journalists were accused in accordance to the newly adopted law ( cybercrimes law), that reveals the danger of such a law on media freedom, and the urgent need to freeze the law and amend all articles related to freedom of expression and opinion. 

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