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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Freedom of the Press in Gaza: Threats and fear

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/06/freedom-of-press-in-gaza-threats-and.html

Palestinian democracy according to Maanews:
 
One leader threatened to wring a correspondent's neck and another threatened to spread damning reports about Ma'an and so on.
 
...the press situation in the Palestinian territories is very dangerous; reporters are unable to report the truth as they see it because there are parties which try to determine what main story to choose and what photo to attach to the news story. A leading militia personality threatened a female journalist that if a story is not sent as news, in the form of a short message sent to Palestinian mobile phones, she would suffer terrible repercussions.
Democracy in action!
 
Ami Isseroff
 
Editor in Chief: Ma'an receives threats from rival factions
Date: 19 / 06 / 2007  Time:  14:28


Ma'an - Editorial by Nasser Lahham - Ma'an News Agency on Tuesday morning considered closing its Gaza-based office and ceasing activity in the strip and Nablus, following a series of threats which Ma'an received from angry rival factions.

The rivals either wanted Ma'an to publish their defamation of the other party on its main page, or they did not like its editorial policy. Ma'an received threats from both rivals, not only one. Several Palestinian media outlets were closed as a result of similar threats.

After consultations with the Hamas and Fatah leadership, we received lukewarm assurances and decided to continue operation with caution, whilst remaining concerned for our offices and correspondents.

Meanwhile, we call on Hamas to allow foreign journalists to resume coverage of the Gaza Strip events in order to preserve the freedom of journalism and act as a civilized nation.

One leader threatened to wring a correspondent's neck and another threatened to spread damning reports about Ma'an and so on.

To avoid talking about Ma'an only, let us remember that the press situation in the Palestinian territories is very dangerous; reporters are unable to report the truth as they see it because there are parties which try to determine what main story to choose and what photo to attach to the news story. A leading militia personality threatened a female journalist that if a story is not sent as news, in the form of a short message sent to Palestinian mobile phones, she would suffer terrible repercussions.

At any rate, our families and children, Arabs and foreigners, watch everyday open transmissions on satellite TV stations and radios. From a professional point of view, as long as there are open transmissions on air for every angry rival to say whatever he likes, the situation will remain tense and the wound will remain open. We will watch as children lose their appetite for food and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remain hostages to what is being heard on the open TV stations, rather than what is in the public interest.

Also professionally speaking, the Palestinian minister of information must intervene and demand live transmissions are halted immediately, because they can only escalate the situation since they are conducted spontaneously and without experience.

We could faint hearing about the 'treacherous trend' on Al-Aqsa TV station (the Hamas-affiliated TV station) and the description of unverified news from the Gaza Strip described by unanonymous callers to Palestine TV (state-run Fatah-affiliated TV station).

If the Palestinian minister of information in the new government, Dr Riyad Al Maliki, cannot stop the open transmissions, I appeal to the director of Palestine TV, Basim Abu Sumayya, and to Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, to stop the live transmissions, which have occupied the main part of Israeli TV every evening.


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