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Al-Jazeera suspension in West Bank lifted

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 19 July 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) welcomes the decision of Dr. Salam Fayyad's government to cancel the suspension of the work of Al-Jazeera TV.

A statement issued by the office of Dr. Fayyad said, "From the position of the national authority wanting public freedoms, journalistic and media work, and after consultation with a number of legal advisers, and to allow judicial proceedings to take their natural course and without prejudice to rights, I issued a decision to halt the suspension of work of the Al-Jazeera office in Palestine and allow the office to carry on its work as usual."

The Palestinian Authority issued a decision on 15 July to suspend the work of Al-Jazeera TV in the West Bank and filed a lawsuit against it following a news report on accusations by Farouq Qaddumi, a Fatah party leader.

MADA demands that the Palestinian National Authority drop the lawsuit against Al-Jazeera TV on the pretext of "incitement, sedition, promotion, and publication of false news." A trial against Al-Jazeera would lead to increased concerns among journalists and media outlets and increase self-censorship - which is already widespread in the Palestinian territories and which has been exacerbated in the last three years - especially as Al-Jazeera's news reports have been objective and neutral.

MADA reiterates its call for respect for freedom of opinion and expression in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law, the Printing and Publishing Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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