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Violations of media freedoms in Palestine in August 2012

(MADA/IFEX) - Media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories continued to deteriorate during August 2012, with new violations recorded against journalists who were simply pursuing their professional work. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored serious violations committed by Israeli forces through the targeting of journalists with gas bombs, detentions and beatings, particularly the attack on photojournalist Jaafar Ishtayeh, which left him with a broken hand.

Palestinian violations by known and unknown parties against journalists also continued. The most serious were the abduction and persecution of journalist Saher Aqra in the Gaza Strip, the closure of Al-Sho'la news website, and a death threat against the Director of Radio Bethlehem 2000 George Kanawati.

Israeli violations:

Israeli forces threw a tear gas canister at Pal Media cameraman Ashraf Abu Shawish, hitting his left foot, while he was covering from the Kofor Kaddoum weekly march, on 3 August 2012. Journalist Nihad Abu Ghosh was also injured by a tear gas canister while travelling to Jerusalem through the Qalandia checkpoint on 14 August.

Israeli occupation forces attacked a group of journalists on 17 August 2012. Photojournalist Jaafar Ishtayeh, Palestine Public TV cameraman in the city of Nablus, Bakr Abdel-Haq, Palestine Public TV cameraman Fares Fares, a photographer with the Palestinian news agency "Wafa", Nidal Shtayyeh, and journalists Uday Kaddoumi and Noah Kaddoumi were covering one of the weekly marches in Kofor Kaddoum.

Israeli occupation forces also arrested photographer for the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Nabi Saleh, Bilal al-Tamimi, while he was covering the weekly march in the village on 31 August.

An unknown person/s in an Israeli-registered car opened fire on Palestine TV correspondent Nizar Al-Samodi in the city of Jenin, on 8 August. And unidentified people hacked the website of the Palestinian network for media and uploaded phrases in Hebrew, English and Arabic that accuse the network of inciting against Israel.

Palestinian violations:

The internal security service of the Hamas Government in the Gaza Strip summoned the producer and manager of Surcareen company, Salem Hamad, for investigation on 1 August. Also Al-Sho'la news agency chief editor Saher Aqra' was kidnapped by men affiliated with the internal security in Gaza and assaulted during a week of detention, from 23-30 August.

In the West Bank, the Palestinian intelligence service confiscated equipment from the Aqsa TV crew in the city of Hebron on 14 August. Mayadeen channel correspondent Nisren Sulami was hit in her right foot and shoulder by stones from young demonstrators at Qalandia checkpoint while covering clashes in the area on 15 August.

An unidentified person made a death threat against the director of Radio Bethlehem 2000 George Canawati on Tuesday, 28 August.

Read the full report.

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