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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Freedom of the press, 'Palestinian' style

Khaled Abu Toameh explains how the 'Palestinian Authority' controls the media in Judea and Samaria.
Journalists are welcome to cover Palestinian affairs only if they are willing to sing praise to Abbas and Fayad and write about Israeli military checkpoints. But if anyone dares to report, for instance, about corruption or the fact that there are nearly 1000 Palestinians being held in Abbas's prisons without trial, he or she could also be punished in the same way as Al-Jazeera.

Intimidation of the media is not a new phenomenon in the Palestinian territories. In fact, it began almost immediately after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, when the security forces launched a massive crackdown on Palestinian journalists and media organizations that were not 100 percent loyal to Arafat.

A government that considers a TV report as a major threat to its national security and interests is one that is not sincere about democracy and freedom of expression.

In this regard, the Palestinian Authority is not different from the rest of the Arab dictatorships where journalists are targeted on a regular basis. Journalists who dare to write about financial corruption or anything that reflects negatively on an Arab leader are not permitted to write in state-owned media.

In the West Bank, a journalist must be affiliated with Fatah in one way or another if he or she wants to work in a media outlet belonging to the Palestinian Authority. In the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, only Hamas-affiliated journalists are employed in the Islamic movement's media.

Independent Palestinian journalists are therefore forced to search for work in the international and Israeli media.
Read the whole thing. And the next time you read a story with a byline in Ramallah or Bethlehem, read it critically. Yes, even the New York Times has to comply if they want to work in the 'Palestinian Authority.'


At 10:02 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There is no freedom of the press in either the PA area or in Gaza. For the Western press, the absence of diversity in the Palestinian media is a non-issue.

What could go wrong indeed


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