The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” issued a special report on the state of digital rights in light of the emergency resulting from the spread of Covid-19 in the Palestinian territories.
The report, entitled “Digital Rights in the light of Emergency State,” presents the most prominent violations of freedom of expression and digital rights during the emergency period that came from the Israeli occupation, various Palestinian parties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Facebook Company. The report also addresses the end of the blocking period of 49 sites during the emergency period and the request that “MADA” made to ask the internet providers to stop the blocking of these sites.
The report focuses in particular on the violations of Facebook Company during the emergency period, as the company did not hesitate to impose its control on Palestinian content during that period; Facebook company carried out a wide campaign of prevention of publishing and live broadcasting during the emergency period, as well as a wide closure campaign for the pages of dozens of journalists and a number of media sites.
Mousa Rimawi, Director General of “MADA” Center, said that digital rights have become a human right that everyone should enjoy and that the need for it has increased in the light of Coronavirus spread due to the prevention on movement measures; whether to meet the needs of people or communicate with each other or to express their views.
Rimawi added that “MADA” Center will continue its efforts to defend this right and consecrate it through the “Civil Coalition to Protect Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights” in cooperation with all parties concerned in the government and private sectors, and in direct communication with Facebook Company, stressing that the right of expression and digital rights does not include in any way the hate speech on social media, which must be fought by everyone, through “MENA Network for Countering Hate Speech”.
Moreover, the report deals with violations against journalists based on the Cybercrime Law, and the arrest of journalists for their writings on social media. Also, the report highlighted the need to pass the Right to Access Information Law, as the state of emergency once again proved the need of having such law due to the spread of confusion and rumors as a result of the lack of information needed. It is worth mentioning that this law has not been passed yet, despite the great efforts made by Palestinian civil society, including “MADA” Center, and the Anti-Corruption Commission in drafting the law and campaigns advocating for its approval and promoting its importance.
Lastly, “MADA” Center recommended at the end of the report the importance of respecting freedom of expression and digital rights even under a state of emergency and again demanded to amend the Cybercrime Law and pass the Right to Access Information Law.
To read the report click here