MADA: 43 violations against media freedoms in Palestine during July

Ramallah /PNN/

July 2021 witnessed a relative decrease in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine, compared to what it was in the previous two months (May and June) when it recorded a sharp increase (167 violations in May, 123 violations in June).

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” monitored and documented during the month of July a total of 43 violations against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 16 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation, while various Palestinian parties committed 23 violations (five of which were injured by unintended stones from demonstrators), while Facebook committed 3 violations. In addition to one violation committed by the BBC administration after it dismissed the Palestinian journalist Tala Halawa because of a tweet, she had published several years ago before she started working with the BBC.

The reason for the relative decline in the total violations during July is due to the decrease in the range of activities and field events that took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during this month compared to the previous month, which accompanied by repressions aimed at covering up what is happening by targeting the media and journalists.

However, what raises concern is the continued deterioration of media freedoms and freedom of expression whether through practice or decisions, as the Palestinian Council of Ministers issued on 5/7/2021 a decision to cancel Article (22) of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Public Service, which affirms the public employee’s right to express his opinion. The canceling of article 22 is a clear violation of Article 19 of the Basic Palestinian Law.

During the past month, the Israeli occupation committed 16 attacks against media freedoms, most of which are among the serious attacks on journalists, 8 of which were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets and direct gas canisters, as well as direct targeting by bullets of a group of journalists to keep them away from the event area and prevent them from coverage.

These attacks included: Injuries: the journalists Tariq Sarkaji (a rubber bullet in the shoulder), Fayhaa Khanfar (a gas bomb in the right leg), Abdullah Al-Bahsh (he was wounded twice in two separate incidents with rubber bullets), Mujahid Tabanja (rubber in the thigh) and Ayman Al-Nubani with a spongy bullet, Izzat Jamjoom (a beating caused him to bleed). in addition to targeting journalists Khaled Badir, Ibrahim Rantisi, Mahmoud Khalaf, Amid Shehadeh, Tariq Sarkaji, and Fayhaa Khanfar to prevent them from covering.

The month of July witnessed a total of 23 Palestinian violations against media freedoms, 22 of which occurred in the West Bank and one violation in the Gaza Strip, knowing that five of these violations were “unintended” minor injuries by protesters’ stones.

Most of these violations which affected a number of journalists while covering a sit-in in front of the Palestinian police headquarters in the city of Al-Bireh on the evening of the 5 July, came within the serious attacks against journalists and media work, the most prominent of which were the arrests and the violent physical attacks. These attacks affected the journalists: Amid Shehadeh, Muhammad Hamayel, Aqil Awawda, Muammar Orabi, Hind Sherida, and Mays Abu Ghosh.

The violations also included preventing a group of journalists from covering the arrest of political activists in Ramallah, the incitement that targeted some media outlets and journalists through social networking networks, the closing of J-Media office by the Palestinian Ministry of Information on the pretext of not having a license, also five journalists were injured by stones from protesters while covering clashes in the town of Beit Ummar, in addition to the attack carried out by security forces in Gaza on Al-Shabab Radio reporter Muhammad Bakr al-Louh while he was making interviews about the high school exam in Deir Albalah.

The company has committed three violations against media freedoms this month, namely blocking Shihab News Agency’s page, which is followed by about seven and a half million people, restricting the follow-up of the Al Quds News Network page, which is also followed by several million people, as well as closing the page of Omar Nazzal, a member of the General Secretariat of the Journalists Syndicate.

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