MADA launches awareness campaign on self-censorship in the media

PNN/ Ramallah/

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms launched  on Tuesday a media campaign on social media under the slogan “Self-censorship is a constraint to be broken” aimed at raising awareness of the negative outcomes of self-censorship in the media in Palestine, with funding from the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

The campaign comes within the framework of MADA center’s continuous efforts over the years and the several activities it implements to educate journalists and media institutions of the danger of self-censorship on media freedoms. The campaign also aims to strengthen the capabilities of Palestinian journalists in order to limit the occurrence of self-censorship; given its wide impact on the reality and the future of the media in Palestine.

MADA center said it examines the extreme danger of self-censorship, which has dramatically increased after the occurrence of the Palestinian division, and the prosecution done by various authorities of Palestinian journalists and assaults against them. Self-censorship has been further enhanced during the state of emergency that has been declared since March as a result of the Coronavirus, which negatively affected the work of journalists and media professionals.

Consequently, in the continuation of the efforts and activities conducted to raise awareness and increase the capabilities of journalists with regard to self-censorship, MADA center organized a virtual panel discussion via ZOOM about self-censorship in media and the best ways to get rid of it especially during the state of emergency, with the participation of representatives of media and civil institutions, in addition to a group of male and female journalists. The virtual discussion is a part of the project entitled “A Step Forward towards Promoting Freedom of Expression in Palestine” which is funded by the European Union.

The participants agreed on the need to provide protection for journalists as one of the most important ways to get rid of self-censorship in media, through the presence of a strong body that includes all journalists to preserve their rights, defend them, and provide them with protection, in addition to working to approve laws and legislations that help create a media environment where Palestinian journalists are protected from prosecution because of their media work. Among these laws and legislations are the Right to Information Law, and the development of the Press and Publications law.

The participants also demanded that the subject of self-censorship in the media to be included in the media education at universities, and they indicated the need to give media institutions sufficient space for their employees to practice their right to opinion and expression. The participants stressed the importance of the work of human rights institutions to provide means of protection of the Palestinian journalists, and the need for the Palestinian journalists to be courageous in their work.

At the end of the meeting, the participants talked about practical experiences related to self-censorship that they have gone through during their work, and they also emphasized the external censorship on their work which forces them to practice self-censorship, and this is reflected in their overall production, media work, and personal life in general.