- Published on Monday, 17 September 2012 12:43
Monday 17th September, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) welcomed the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council to dedicate 12 judges to consider issues relating to the work of journalists last week.
The decision recognizes the importance of guaranteeing and enhancing freedom of expression in Palestinian society.
It has been encouraging that there were no recorded violations of media freedoms during protests in the West Bank over the last week. This motivates MADA and others to continue to raise awareness of media freedoms among law enforcement bodies.
We renew our call for the imprisonment of journalists to be replaced by fines, in the line with international standards for freedom of expression.
On 18 June, a delegation from MADA center met Judge Farid El-Jallad, President of the Supreme Court and Chief of the Palestinian Supreme Judicial Council, to raise concerns around media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The delegation included the Director General of MADA, Mousa Rimawi, legal unit coordinator Ghazi Bani Odeh, and public relations officer Riham Abu Aita.
They delivered aletter, which underlined the importance of appointing more than one judge to consider issues relating to freedom of expression, after preparing them to handle cases against journalists and bloggers.
The letter explained that a lack of specialists in this field in the justice system has led to errors in the use of the law in cases related to the professional work of journalists.
Journalists have grown fearful of judgments issued by judges who are not familiar with matters relating to freedom of expression, and this breeds rampant self-censorship, which negatively affects the performance of the media.
A lack of investigative reporting follows, which can allow corruption and other significant issues to continue unchallenged."
MADA again welcomes this step of dedicating judges to consider matters relating to the work of journalists, and we congratulate the esteemed judges.
We also support them in standing strong for the independence of the judiciary and in defending the human right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian basic law.