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Offices of Ma'an News Agency and Alarabiya TV re-opened in Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) welcomes the decision of Ismael Hania, head of the Hamas government in Gaza, to withdraw the complaint against Alarabiya TV on 19 November 2013, and Ma'an Agency on 16 November, and we hope that the reopening of the offices will lead to enhanced media freedoms in Gaza.

The attorney general's adviser in Gaza, Ismail Jabr, had issued an order on 25 July 2012 based on a complaint by the government to close the offices of Ma'an and Alarabiya in the Gaza Strip on a temporary basis under the pretext of "the fabrication of news and the spreading of rumours that are not based on truth and that threaten national peace and harm the Palestinian people and the resistance". Police officers confiscated the keys to the offices and staff were banned from entering the buildings on 29 July.

MADA welcomes the decision to drop the complaints and calls for freedom of expression to be respected in Palestine. Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed in article 19 of the Palestinian basic law, and must be respected to create an enabling environment for journalists and media outlets to work freely and safely, whether in Gaza or the West Bank.

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