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Palestinian TV channels raided by Israeli forces

UPDATE: Palestinian broadcaster's equipment must be returned, says CPJ (CPJ Blog, 8 May 2012)

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 29 February 2012 - At dawn on Wednesday, 29 February 2012, Israeli occupation forces carried out a raid on the local TV headquarters of both Watan and Educational Quds, confiscating computers, documents and radio equipment and leading to
the suspension of their broadcasts.

Watan TV journalist Hamza Salaymeh told MADA: "I and my colleague Ahmed Zaki, who is the broadcast supervisor, were in the TV HQ and at about 2:00 a.m. the building guard told us that there are soldiers and army jeeps in the vicinity of the building. We prepared ourselves to film what is going on, but when we opened the door, we found soldiers in front of us."

Salaymeh added: "They asked to confiscate the transmitter and when we told them we do not know where it is, they went up to the roof of the building and confiscated the head piece of the transmitter. They also confiscated all the computers on the fifth floor (the HQ spans two floors) and then went to the fourth floor, where two colleagues, Ibrahim Melhem and Abdul Rahman Thaher, were working. They detained us in a room, along with building guard, and began to search and confiscate the equipment and documents. This process continued for around two-and-a-half hours. The soldiers refused to explain why they were seizing the broadcast equipment and other devices."

Ola Abu Gharbia, Watan TV projects officer, said: "They confiscated a total of 21 computers from various sections of the TV headquarters, a transmitter and a device used for live broadcasts from the field, as well as a number of files and TV cassettes, and all TV accounts for the year 2011."

The Israeli occupation army also raided the headquarters of Quds Educational TV, which belongs to the University of Jerusalem's Institute of Modern Media.

Shadi Barakat, Quds Educational TV broadcast technician, told MADA: "A group of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by several members of the Israeli intelligence and communication engineers raided the television building at 3:30 a.m., detaining personnel and confiscating the broadcast equipment and communication devices.”

Quds Educational TV director Haroun Abu A'rra said: "The occupation army stormed the TV headquarters at dawn, confiscating broadcasting equipment, tampering with the contents and other equipment, and stopping the TV broadcast."

He added: "The occupation soldiers who stormed Quds Educational TV also blocked the private TV cameras so they did not affect what the soldiers did. This is an attack on the sanctity of the University of Jerusalem."

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns this assault on the headquarters of Watan TV and Educational Quds TV. These attacks are considered to be serious violations of freedom of expression. MADA calls on the international community to take urgent action to stop Israeli attacks on journalists and Palestinian media, and to pressure the Israeli government to return the confiscated equipment and documents and provide compensation for their removal.

MORE INFORMATION:

Palestinian TV wants US help retrieving seized transmitter (CPJ Blog, 26 April 2012)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


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