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Israel forces Palestinian TV station to stop broadcasting

A local station in the city of Tulkarem, Sheraa TV, was forced to stop broadcasting after receiving numerous threats by the Israeli authorities during the last week.

Sheraa TV General Director Mohamed Zeidan reported to the Palestinian Center For Developments and Media Freedoms (MADA) that they received several notices originally saying they must stop broadcasting immediately because it was disturbing communications at the Ben-Gurion airport near the city of Al-lid.

The station then consulted a number of technicians from the Palestinian Ministry of Communications and Al-Najah University who confirmed that the devices were not causing any interference, after which the Israeli authorities dropped their claims and said instead that the broadcasting was interfering with Israeli TV networks.

Israeli authorities had made several complaints to the Palestinian Liaison Center since 29 January 2014 saying that Sheraa TV broadcasting must stop, and if it doesn't they will force it to.

Zeidan adds: "We have taken the decision to stop broadcasting two days ago until we find a solution to this issue, because the occupation is no stranger to raiding media outlets and confiscating broadcasting equipment that had cost us a fortune to obtain."

This is not the first incident where Israel pressures Palestinian radio and TV stations and raids and confiscates equipments claiming that broadcasting interferes with the airport and its communications.

MADA has issued a special report with details on the targeting of Palestinian media outlets by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). During the period from 2008 until mid 2012 the IOF broke into 11 different media outlets, confiscated equipment from 14 outlets, and destructed and bombed 7 headquarters of Palestinian and international media outlets, causing the media outlets great financial losses worth millions of dollars.

MADA condemns the use of such tactics to stop Sheraa TV from broadcasting for the benefit of Israeli TV stations. We call on all countries and human rights organizations to pressure Israel to respect freedom of expression, and to commit to international laws and agreements signed with the Palestinian National Authority in this regard.

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