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Attack on Watan TV crew a flagrant violation of free expression, says MADA

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the Palestinian security service's attack on a Watan TV crew on the afternoon of 25 August 2010, in Ramallah. The incident took place while the journalists were covering a protest march against a ban on a conference that was to be held to oppose direct negotiations between the Palestinian National Authority and the Israeli government, which was organized by a group of Palestinian factions and civil society organizations. Watan TV said in a statement that security service personnel beat two journalists, Khalid Milhim and Aysar Barghouthi, and confiscated their videotape.

It is worth noting that the Palestinian security services raided Watan TV's headquarters on 17 July, after the station covered a Hizb Al-Tahrir political party march that was banned by the security services.

MADA considers the attack on Watan TV and the ban on the conference against direct negotiations between the Palestinian National Authority and Israeli government to be a flagrant violation of freedom of expression.

MADA demands that all attacks on freedom of expression be halted in the Palestinian territories. MADA also welcomes President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to form an investigative committee into the incident involving Watan TV and the prevention of the conference.

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