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Palestinian journalist faces threats of legal action by Hamas government

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the threats and punitive measures taken by the Hamas government against journalist Orouba Othman, who works for Alray Press Agency, the government's official media agency.

On 3 April 2014, Othman published an article in the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper entitled "Hamas soldiers to preach in Gaza's mosques" about a campaign by the Interior Ministry where officers and soldiers will deliver the Friday sermons from mosque podiums in their military uniforms.

Othman reported to MADA that, after she published the article, "Eyad Al-Bozom, Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, posted on his Facebook page that the report is full of lies."

"I was then exposed to libel allegations as well as threatening letters sent to my Facebook profile," she said. "Someone called Raed Abu Jarad from the ministry commented on a Facebook post I published saying that I "spit in the plate I eat from" because I work as part of a project that belongs to the government's media center."

Othman went on to say that as a response to her report in Al-Akhbar, she was informed by the legal affairs department at the government's media agency that her contract will not be renewed, "which is considered a punitive measure taken against me," she said. "The Ministry of Interior also submitted a complaint against me and a lawsuit will be sent to the public prosecutor.:

Othman mentioned that the Al-Akhbar newspaper published a clarification later stating that the introduction to the report, which is written in bold and starts by saying "Step by step, fascism is making its way into Gaza," was added by the editor of the newspaper.

MADA rejects the penalties imposed on journalists and citizens simply for expressing their opinions. The center demands an end to the proceedings against journalist Orouba Othman, especially since the newspaper has already explained that the introduction to the report was added by the editor in charge.

MADA confirms its rejection of the penalties or taken action against journalists and citizens for expressing their opinions, and demands an end to the proceedings against journalist Orouba Othman, especially that the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper has already explained that the introduction to the report, which mentioned the "fascist" was added by the editor.

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