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Ramattan news agency raided by security forces

(MADA/IFEX) - 12 November 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses concern because the Ramattan news agency was obliged to close its offices in protest of a recent raid by the authorities. On 10 November 2009, the internal security forces raided the agency's offices in Gaza City and prevented the Palestinian National Action Commission from holding a press conference there.

Ramattan said in a statement that the closure came after the accumulation of several factors related to the violation of the law, freedom of expression and press freedom, harassment by the internal security forces, and the cancellation of the press conference.

According to one of Ramattan's employees who preferred to remain anonymous, the Palestinian National Action Commission was planning to hold a press conference at 7:00 p.m. on 10 November, in order to announce that the government had not allowed the group to commemorate the fifth anniversary of former president Yasser Arafat's death. As the press conference was due to begin, internal security officers raided the Ramattan offices, informing the news agency that it was not allowed to hold the press conference because it had not obtained permission to do so.

MADA condemned the incident, deeming it a flagrant violation of freedom of expression. MADA called for an end to attacks and harassment of journalists and media outlets in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

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