The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” launched a campaign to limit self-censorship in the media that journalists and the mass media practice on themselves and it is being reflected on their work. This campaign is a part of the project “A Step Forward toward Enhancing Freedom of Expression in Palestine”, funded by the European Union.
This campaign was launched under the slogan “No To Self-Censorship Even during the Pandemic” and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of self-censorship in the media on freedom of opinion and expression and media freedoms, in addition to urging journalists, media professionals, and activists to limit their practice of self-censorship due to its negative effects on journalistic and media work that limits creativity and the ability to deliver information.
Moreover, this media campaign seeks to increase journalists’ knowledge of their rights, especially with regard to the right to freedom of journalistic work and freedom of opinion and expression, and raise their awareness of the nature of self-censorship that they exercise on themselves and on their media work as a result of the influence of many political and social factors, and their very negative impact on the development of the media and media freedoms which greatly affects the ability to develop the Palestinian society.
The Director-General of MADA Center, Mousa Al-Rimawi, said that this campaign comes within the framework of the continuous effort that MADA has made over the past years in the field of monitoring violations of media rights and freedoms, organizing awareness-raising media campaigns targeting journalists in particular and the Palestinian public in general, and holding specialized training for journalists and media students, on topics of the most important of which is self-censorship in the media.
Al-Rimawi pointed to the importance of this campaign, especially since the violations practiced against journalists are considered one of the most prominent factors that increase self-censorship. During the past periods, many cases of arrest and summoning of journalists were monitored and documented for their journalistic work in addition to blocking news websites. We have also witnessed the social media companies, the most important of which is Facebook, deleting dozens of news pages or accounts of journalists and media workers, on the grounds of their writings and publications, under the pretext of violating the company’s standards.
It is worth mentioning that this media campaign comes as part of a series of activities carried out by the center with the aim of introducing self-censorship in the media, as awareness meetings were held with a group of journalists and media institutions to discuss the campaign topic, in addition to organizing a digital training course on self-censorship in which dozens of male and female journalists from all areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The participants emphasized the spread of self-censorship and its practice by them as a result of the policies of the institutions in which they work and as a result of societal oversight and the role of official authorities, which negatively affects their journalistic work in terms of avoiding talking about certain topics that may be sensitive or expressing their opinion on certain social or political issues.