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MADA responds to Gaza Information Ministry statement

(MADA/IFEX) - On 18 August 2009, the Information Ministry in the government in the Gaza Strip issued a press release in response to a MADA 16 August press release, which dealt with the issue of preventing journalists from covering events in Rafah city. According to MADA, the ministry statement contained unfounded charges and fallacies. Although the statement did not mention MADA by name, it is clear that it targeted the organization, since MADA is the only local media organization which issued a press release in this regard.

MADA would like to clarify the following:

- The prevention of journalists from covering events is not being done for their safety, as is claimed by the ministry statement. This is not the first time that the Hamas government and its security forces have prevented journalists from covering certain events; for example, they prevented the media from covering the events at the Islamic University and the attack on neighborhoods of the Helles and Doghmash clans. The ruling authorities in many countries usually use this argument to prevent journalists from covering certain events. MADA recalls that the Israeli authorities prevented journalists from entering the Gaza Strip during the last aggression against the Gaza Strip, using the same argument.

- The accusation that MADA is ignoring and is silent on violations of media freedoms in the West Bank is not true. The credibility of MADA is based on its neutrality, professionalism and independence, which everyone is aware of, especially journalists who have been subjected to attacks. Anyone who is not aware of this fact can look at the MADA website.

- MADA did not comment "in a distorted way on the events that took place in the Rafah area". The organization points out that it reported on the fact that journalists were being prevented from covering the events, which was confirmed in the Information Ministry statement and another statement by the Interior Ministry.

The ministry statement also noted: "The Ministry of Information expresses surprise over the exit of the centers in the West Bank - which claim to defend media freedoms - and their silence as regards the situation in the Gaza Strip.

For the full text of the MADA press release, please click here
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