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MADA welcomes reports released by UN Human Rights Council calling for protection of media freedoms

(MADA/IFEX) - 21 June 2012 - Many Palestinian journalists are, unfortunately, very familiar with the issues raised in two reports on media freedoms recently released by the United Nations' Human Rights Council, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said.

MADA welcomed two reports released by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns.

With the release of the reports, the Special Rapporteurs urged world governments, the international community and journalists and media organisations to work to protect media freedoms and the "right to life" of journalists.

As Mr La Rue said: "States continue to utilize criminal laws on defamation, national security and counterterrorism to suppress dissent and criticism, including on government policies, human rights violations and allegations of corruption."

Mr Heyns said: "It is hard to imagine a world without journalists. Without their work, humanity would be reduced to silence, and yet a large number are killed each year with almost total impunity."

MADA director general Mousa Rimawi paid tribute to Palestinian journalists who refuse to be silent and continue to work in the face of threats and risks to their safety.

"Every day we see the courage and tenacity of Palestinian journalists, who continue to work with professionalism and passion despite the risks," Mr Rimawi said.

"As the reports highlight, local journalists in violent or repressive environments deserve special recognition because they can experience the same violations as foreign journalists in conflict zones, but may not receive the same international attention.

"Sadly, many Palestinian journalists are threatened, injured or arrested while simply doing their jobs, and many journalists feel pressured to self-censor.

"As these UN reports show, journalists around the world continue to be targeted and repressed, including those using the Internet to publish stories.

"MADA will continue to support and encourage Palestinian journalists in their work, and to fight for freedom of expression in Palestine."

It is worth mentioning that MADA met in 9 December 2011 with Mr. La Rue, during his visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, in the presence of a group of Palestinian journalists who had been attacked by Israeli occupation forces.

Link to the reports

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