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MADA hosts workshop aimed at enhancing lawyers' ability to handle cases involving freedom of expression

(MADA/IFEX) - 22 February 2011 - Today the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), in partnership with Birzeit University's Institute of Law, held a workshop aimed at enhancing lawyers' abilities to manage freedom of expression cases, with a particular focus on media freedoms. The workshop was held as part of MADA's program designed to enhance freedom of expression in cooperation with the lawyers' syndicate, and funded by the UNESCO office in Ramallah.

The workshop commenced with an opening speech from the Director of the Institute of Law, Dr Ghassan Faramand, who stressed the importance of enhancing lawyers' skills in dealing with media issues, and specifically, the importance of establishing legal units within institutions working in the field of media freedoms to support the work of those institutions in legal matters. Faramand also confirmed that there is a lack of lawyers specializing in media issues, particularly issues of freedom of opinion and expression in Palestine.

MADA's project coordinator, Ghasoub Alaeddin, expressed MADA's hope that the workshop will be the first step for lawyers to specialize in issues of freedom of opinion and expression and gain expertise crucial to the defense of human rights. This is particularly timely considering the current escalation of media freedom violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, where MADA monitored 218 violations last year - most of them committed by Israeli occupation forces.

The workshop will continue at Birzeit University's Institute of Law for three consecutive days, totaling 15 hours of training. The participants, comprised of 20 lawyers from the West Bank, will be trained by professional journalists, human rights activists, legal experts and specialists in the field.

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