(MADA/IFEX) - 4 November 2011 - Palestinian journalists faced a difficult month in October, with MADA monitoring an increased number of violations committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and settlers across the West Bank. Among the most serious of the violent incidences against journalists was the attack on French Agency Photographer Hazem Bader, who was struck on the head by a large stone thrown by a settler during the weekly Beit Omar demonstration in Hebron. Additionally, in Ramallah a group of journalists suffered the severe effects of tear-gas inhalation while covering a solidarity protest for Palestinian hunger strikers outside Ofer prison.
Conversely, the number of Palestinian-committed violations decreased in October. However, this reduction in the number of incidences is a dubious indicator of improvement as some of the violations committed were of a serious nature, such as the raid and takeover of the Journalists' Syndicate headquarters in the Gaza Strip by journalists belonging to the Jihad and Hamas political parties. This increased the crisis among journalists and opens the door to divisions within the journalists' syndicate.
MADA is additionally concerned by the number of incidences of journalists tried for critical opinion pieces, and considers that to be a major factor in the increasingly frequent practice of self-censorship among journalists in the region.
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