Donia Al watan
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” announced in a press conference the semi-annual report on violations against media freedoms in Palestine, in its office in Ramallah today.
Mousa Rimawi, General Director of MADA Center said “The first half of 2017 witnessed an increase in the total number of violations by 15% compared to the first half of last year 2016”. He also pointed out that the number of violations monitored during the first six months of this year is 228 violations (including 127 Israeli violations and 101 Palestinian violations), while the total violations recorded in the first half of 2016 was 198 violations.
Rimawi also said that the Israeli violations monitored in the first half of 2017, were slightly lower than in the first half of 2016, which amounted to 133 attacks. While the number of Palestinian violations increased from 65 to 101 violations, clarifying that, the high number of Palestinian violations is mainly due to the continuing political division and increasing tension between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Rimawi highlighted that, Israeli violations came within 12 types, with five grave types (physical attacks, arrest and detention, confiscation and detention of equipment, destruction of equipment and closure of institutions) accounted 64% of the total Israeli attacks. It is noted that the physical attacks (injuries and beatings) that were at the forefront of the Israeli attacks accounted 34% of the total number of Israeli attacks, which shows the grave nature of the Israeli violations on the lives and work of journalists and media outlets.
He also added that Palestinian violations, which came within 12 types, concentrated mainly on the blocking of websites, arrest, detention, summon and interrogation, which together accounted for 66% of the total Palestinian violations.
He also pointed to the passage of the Cyber- Crimes Law (decree) by the Palestinian Authority in a state of deep secrecy and away from any consultations or discussions with the civil society organizations. This has led many legal and civil organizations to exert pressure on the PA to freeze the implementation of this law until it is amended in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law and in line with all international conventions that were previously ratified by the State of Palestine.
He also referred to the recent campaign of arrests against journalists and the filing of indictments against them under cyber-crimes law, as well as, the seriousness of the charges against journalists, such as leaking sensitive information or communicating with Ramallah.
Rimawi called for forming the widest coalition of civil society organizations to defend freedom of expression. He also demanded the release of detained journalists and called for stopping the policy of arresting them.
Finally, Rimawi praised the Palestinian journalists, who perform their professional duties despite the risks and challenges they face, especially Jerusalemite journalists who have been subjected to dozens of violations during the past month by the occupation forces, which are still practicing the most serious and numerous violations, ignoring the international conventions and treaties which guarantee freedom of expression.