The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) recent study “The Challenges of Digital Rights in Palestine” recommended the need to raise awareness of digital rights as a part of “the human rights matrix”. The study also recommended raising awareness of digital security, continuing efforts to amend the laws that are restricting rights and freedoms, reviewing some of the Palestinian Cybercrime Law provisions, and passing the Law of Access to Information.
MADA’s study called for reducing the prices of telecommunications and Internet services in Palestine to facilitate the access of all groups to these services. Moreover, the study called for exposing the practices of the Israeli occupation in monitoring the Palestinian content to prevent them from their right of freedom of expression. Hence, The Challenges of Digital Rights in Palestine study affirmed the need to seek alliances with international organizations concerned with Palestinian digital rights to put pressure on the social media companies and the Israeli government to stop their violations.
The General Director of MADA Center, Moussa Rimawi, said that the study coincided with MADA’s recent digital rights campaign “The Internet Is A Human Right, Not a Commodity” with the support of the European Union, and the decision to block 49 sites, based on the law of cybercrime issued in 2017, the study touched upon this law and raised the objections against it, especially because some of the law articles constitutes a violation of freedom of expression and media freedoms. Therefore, the study recommended that the Cybercrime Law in Palestine should be amended. The study also stressed upon speeding up the process of adopting the right to access information, which continues to be procrastinated in spite of the wide demands and pressures that have been going on for years by MADA and other interested CSOs.
The study, prepared by Mr. Mamoun Matar and Dr. Nader Salha, and completed with the support of Open Society Foundations, reviews digital rights, and how these rights are represented by being part of human and legal rights, which allows individuals to access, use, create and disseminate information and digital media. The study also touched upon the reality of digital rights in Palestine and the challenges these rights face as a result of the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation which has almost absolute control over the spectrum management and the ICT sector. Also, the Israeli occupation imposes obstacles on the technological development in Palestine; for example, the 3rd generation has only recently entered Palestine. Moreover, the Israeli occupation continues to harass Palestinian journalists and media outlets under the pretext of “incitement to violence”’. This is in addition to the failure of some international giant companies to provide their services or some of their services to Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Finally, the study emphasized the need to understand how our data is used by IT companies, governments and Internet giants, and to make sure that these companies are providing secure and affordable Internet access. The study also focused on the ways that the large international companies control the digital content, and how these companies deal with the situation in Palestine. The study concluded by stressing on the importance of having domestic and international legislations that protect the privacy of individuals’ data from censorship, which is used beyond their will and desires in light of the technological acceleration that gives the authorities and governments a great ability in tracking and censorship.
Click here to read the study