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Violations of media freedom in Palestine in July 2012

(MADA/IFEX) - The high number of violations against Palestinian journalists remained steady during the month of July. Many journalists were subjected to numerous and various violations that contravene international conventions relating to human rights and freedom of opinion and expression. These have been monitored by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) throughout the month. These violations were committed both by the Israeli occupation forces and by various Palestinian actors in both the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli Violations of Media Freedoms:

Israeli occupation police detained Press TV correspondent Ibrahim El-Husseini and Pal Media cameraman Ayman Eilian while filming Israeli excavations at the Al-Magharba Gate in Jerusalem on Monday, July 9.

The freelance photographer Haitham Khatib's right hand was injured by a tear gas canister launched by the Israeli occupation forces while covering a weekly march in Bil'in on Friday, July 13.

Israeli security services insisted that Palestinian journalists undergo degrading strip searches before covering the visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Jerusalem. Four journalists were refused entry when they objected to removing their clothing while seeking to attend Clinton's press conference on Monday, July 16.

Palestinian Violations of Media Freedoms:

Palestinian security personnel attacked a group of journalists while covering a march organized in Ramallah, on Saturday, June 30. The journalists attacked were Reuters photographer Saed Hawari, journalist Mahmoud Harebat, Alhayat Aljadeda newspaper photographer Issam Rimawi, and Quds Media Center photographer Ahmad Odeh. Freelance journalist Ahmad Musleh also reported being detained.

The internal security services of the Hamas government raided the cheif editor of Alsho'la newspaper Saher Aqraa's house on Saturday, July 5. The preventative security service in Jenin summoned journalism student Mahmoud Mattar for an investigation on Sunday, July 22, after he wrote an article about the political situation. The public prosecutor in the Gaza Strip summoned the vice chairman of the journalists' syndicate Tahsen Astal for an investigation.

The Mayor of Salfit north of West Bank, Tahseen Salameh, threatened the correspondent of radio Alshamal Ohod Alkofash in response to a report about taxis in Salfit on Monday, July 23.

Conclusion and Recommendations:

MADA condemns all violations against journalists in Palestine that put the lives of journalists at risk. MADA calls upon the appropriate international bodies to pressure the Israeli government to comply with all international conventions on human rights and freedom of opinion and expression.

MADA also renews its call for the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Committee, which was established by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to investigate claims that Palestinian security forces
attacked and detained march participants and journalists.The marches were held on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July to protest against a planned visit by Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz.

These recommendations are an important step towards achieving justice and promoting the rule of law, as well as guaranteeing freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. MADA also stresses the need to hold accountable any actor, Israeli or Palestinian, who attacks journalists or violates media freedoms in any way.

Read the full report

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