The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” issued its report on the situation of media freedoms in Palestine during the first half of this year 2021.
The report indicated a significant increase in the number of violations monitored and documented by the center during the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the occupied city of Jerusalem, witnessed a total of 384 violations during the first half of 2021 compared to a total of 237 violations recorded during the first half of 2020, (an increase of 62%).
The Israeli occupation committed a total of 253 attacks during the first six months of this year 2021, (66% of the total violations), while various Palestinian parties committed a total of 87 violations, (23% of the total violations), while Social networks committed a total of 43 violations, (11% of the total violations).
Most of the Palestinian violations took place in the West Bank (87% of them), compared to 13% in the Gaza Strip.
The report explained that the reasons for the significant increase in the total number of violations during the first half of 2021 are due to: First, the significant increase in the number of Israeli violations, which doubled and increased by more than 102% compared to the first half of 2020. Second, as a result of the escalation of the Palestinian violations, which increased 87% compared to the same period of 2020. Noting that this increase was accompanied by a relative decrease in the number of violations committed by social media networks.
The Israeli attacks were the most serious, the most prominent of which was the martyrdom of the broadcaster in Sawt Al Quds, Youssef Muhammad Abu Hussein, and two media graduates (Abdul Hamid Kolk and Muhammad Shaheen) in the Gaza Strip, as a result of the bombing of the Gaza Strip by the occupation army. In addition, the occupation forces, officially and publicly, destroyed the headquarters and offices of 30 Palestinian, Arab and international media organizations in the Gaza Strip.
The total number of Palestinian violations against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip witnessed a remarkable increase during the first half of 2021 compared to what it reached during the same period of 2020.
The total Palestinian attacks on media freedoms that were recorded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip increased from 47 attacks during the first half of 2020 to 87 violations during the first half of 2021, an increase of about 85%.
Most of the Palestinian violations took place in the West Bank which reached 76 violations (about 87%), compared to 11 (about 13%) violations that occurred in the Gaza Strip.
Most of these attacks took place in June, during the popular marches and protests in the cities of the West Bank especially the city of Ramallah, following the killing of the human rights activist Nizar Banat, and the clear, direct, and systematic targeting of the media outlets and journalists by members of the Palestinian security forces to obscure what happened during those marches. MADA Center monitored during the month of June a total of 69 attacks against journalists and media outlets in the West Bank, which constitutes about 79% of the total Palestinian violations that were monitored and documented during the first six months of 2021.
MADA Center clarified that what the first half of 2021 witnessed of a significant increase in the number of violations came as a result of four events that led to wide-field confrontations, punctuated by large waves of attacks against the media and journalists, to obscure the practices that are taking place on the ground. These events were represented by: the escalation of the occupation’s attacks in the city of Jerusalem, the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, the escalation of the occupation and its settlers’ attacks in the West Bank and extensive confrontations in many towns and sites, and the internal tension and demonstrations witnessed in the West Bank following the killing of activist Nizar Banat during His arrest by the Palestinian security services.