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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Freedom of the press, Hamas style

Reporters in Gaza (are there still any left?) will now need Hamas-approved fixers to accompany them on their stories.
Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip are requiring foreign journalists to take on regime-approved “sponsors” while in the coastal area, the latest sign the Islamist group is determined to keep a tight lid on the flow of information from the territory.

Terje Carlsson, a freelance Swedish journalist, left Israel on Sunday for Gaza, first crossing the Palestinian Authority checkpoint at the border of the Strip and a few hundred meters on, the checkpoint run by Hamas.

“They usually check your luggage for liquor, write down your passport number and ask where you’re staying,” he told The Jerusalem Post by phone from Gaza City.

Carlsson has reported from Gaza at least six times over the last two-and-a-half years and never experienced problems getting in or out. But this time, he said, he was denied entry after officials told him his “fixer” in the Strip had not received prior government approval. (A fixer is a local person who sets up interviews with officials and residents, helps reporters take basic security measures and often serves as translator.) After several hours of wrangling, Carlsson was finally let into Gaza, but instructed to find a Hamas-approved “sponsor” the next morning.

The reporter said the demand puts the fixer in a very precarious position.

“I’ve done stories very critical about Hamas – people have told me about things like drug-smuggling corruption. The local fixers give you a lot of information about this. They’ll put you in touch with a lot of people who talk about how bad this government is.

“For me this is reminiscent of the Soviet Union; the authorities are trying to let the fixers know that the only way to make money is not to be too difficult,” he continued.

“This is a way to tighten the flow of information.”

The Post could not independently confirm Carlsson’s claims.
But just give them a state, and they won't need things like that anymore.

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At 6:12 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Off-topic : as you may have heard, Gilo is back in the news. The EU, the British and the Americans are making a big fuss over Jews building new homes in the neighborhood. To set the record straight here, here is Jonathan Tobin:

Administration Refights The Battle Of Gilo

Read it all. The Obama Administration reaction's is a big New Year's Eve wake-up call to Jewish Israelis who thought the Administration's hostility towards Israel had changed. It kind of puts things, Carl, in a very familiar light, doesn't it?

What could go wrong indeed


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