The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” issued its annual report on media freedoms in Palestine during the past year 2019. It is worth mentioning that this report is part of the project “A Step Forward towards Promoting Freedom of Expression in Palestine”, supported by the European Union.
This came during a press conference held today on Watan TV, in which Dr. Ghazi Hanania, Chairman of the Board of Directors of MADA Center, Mousa Rimawi, Director General of the Center, and journalists Moath Amarneh and Christine Renawi participated in it.
At the beginning of the press conference, Rimawi greeted all journalists, especially Palestinian journalists who face the Israeli repression, to convey the reality of what is happening on the ground. Rimawi emphasized on the rejection of the so-called deal of the century, which pave the way for state of apartheid, and human rights violations in Palestine, including media and press freedoms in Palestine. Also, Rimawi welcomed again the primary efforts announced by the Palestinian government headed by Dr. Muhammad Shtayyah, which rejects the attacks and violations against journalists and against the freedoms of opinion and expression. These efforts reflected on the reality by the low number of violations in the West Bank, but the decision to block 49 sites by the Magistrate’s Court in Ramallah was a setback to freedom of expression.
Additionally, Dr. Ghazi Hanania reviewed the results of the annual report for media freedoms in 2019, pointing to the efforts of the MADA Center to shed light on the violations that are being practiced against media freedoms in Palestine by the Israeli occupation authorities and Facebook, in addition to the Palestinians. Hanania added that MADA Center held a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh to brief him on the state of media freedoms and the requirements neededfrom the Palestinian government.
Hanania indicated that MADA Center monitored and documented a total of 678 violations against media freedoms in Palestine (Israeli occupation forces and authorities committed a total of 297 attacks (about 44%), while social media companies committed 181 violations (27%), and various Palestinian authorities committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip a total of 200 violations (29% of all violations), indicating that the increase of number of violations came as a result of the violations committed by social media companies (Facebook specifically) against the Palestinian content, and the targeting of news pages and the journalists’ accounts.
On the other hand, Journalist MoathAmarneh(free-lance photographer) thanked all those who solidarity with him from journalists and organizations after being shot by the Israeli occupation forces, which led to the loss of his eye. Amarneh stressed the need to preserve the cohesion of the press body to face the attacks of the Israeli occupation against Palestinian journalists, which intends to fight the Palestinian image and narration in all ways and tries to prevent the journalist from reporting the reality of what is happening on the ground. Moreover, Amarneh pointed out that the Israeli occupation army deals with the Palestinian journalist as an enemy on the ground and intentionally targets them and the best evidence of this is his deliberate injury caused by anIsraeli sniper who shot him directly in his eye and later photographed the location of the injury to document it. Amarneh said that this was a direct and clear message to the journalists by the Israeli occupation “a strong photograph will be the reason for your injury.”
As for the journalist ChristineRinawi (palestinian TV reporter in Jerusalem)she explained how that the Israeli occupation closed Palestine TV office in Jerusalem in 20/11/2019 and prevented the journalists working in it from practicing journalism work for 6 months. Rinawi indicated that the decision to close is a political decision that comes within the systematic attack against the city of Jerusalem. Rinawi also confirmed that the occupation deals with the journalist as part of the problem because of the strongphotos they deliver and their ability to convey the truth. She also added that she had been interrogated 3 times within one day, and the staff at the Jerusalem office was prevented from continuing to present their programs in the field, where her colleagues got arrested live and they were investigated. At the end, Rinawi indicated that no matter how the occupation forces try to obstruct the work of the Palestinian journalist, the coverage will continue because the Palestinian journalist has amessage.