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Several Palestinian news websites blocked in the West Bank

Employees work in the offices of Exalt Technologies in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 7 April 2013
Employees work in the offices of Exalt Technologies in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 7 April 2013

REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

This statement was originally published on on 16 June 2017.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its deep concern over the blocking of a number of Palestinian websites. This decision constitutes a serious violation of freedom of the press and expression and prompts us to call for the repeal of such measures and practices, which in this day and age of technological developments, should be something of the past; this type of suppression of voice and opinion should no longer be possible in our day and age.

"At 5 pm on June 12, we were surprised to learn that our site had been blocked", said Hasan Asfour, general supervisor of Amad Media (one of 11 sites affected by the ban). "We contacted internet service providers such as Mada and Hadara, and we learnt that the website had been banned and blocked within the West Bank following a decision of the Attorney General, and that the ban was limited to the West Bank. [This was implemented] with no prior alert and no clear reasons or justifications".

Mo'az Sulaiman Al-Amour, an employee working in the production department of the Shehab News Agency, whose site was also banned and blocked in the West Bank, stated "Yesterday, (June 15) our website was suddenly blocked without any prior legal action taken against the Agency. We were banned without any warning and without violating the Palestinian laws, we abide by the law". "We learnt of the ban and blockage from internet service providers", added Al-Amour, "they informed us that Shehab New Agency was banned in the West Bank along with 10 other websites."

"Some Shehab Agency employees tried to contact the Attorney General immediately after the ban, but he turned off his phone when he was asked about the reasons and motives behind the decision," Al-Amour said.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) stresses the need to protect freedom of the press and freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law, which protects this right. MADA calls on the relevant Palestinian official bodies to repeal this directive and to lift the blocking of all affected sites.

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