Israeli violations of press freedom

Israel bans foreign journalists from entering besieged Gaza


RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Israel has imposed a virtual news blackout on the Gaza Strip. For the last ten days no foreign journalists have been able to enter the besieged territory to report on the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s complete closure of Gaza’s borders for the last two weeks. Steve Gutkin, the AP bureau chief in Jerusalem and head of Israel’s Foreign Press Association, said that he personally “knows of no foreign journalist that has been allowed into Gaza in the last week.” 

Ramallah Palestinian Authority blocks website reporting on corruption


The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah has blocked access to a popular news website because of the site’s reporting on widespread corruption among the entourage of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. For several days, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been unable to view the website Donia al-Watan (http://www.alwatanvoice.com) as access has been blocked through the PA-controlled telecom company. Readers outside Palestine and a few inside the country using proxies are still able to access the site. The Electronic Intifada confirmed that several users attempting to access the website in Ramallah and other parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank could not do so and instead saw a message in English stating “We are sorry, the site was blocked based on attorney General instructions [sic].” 

UN report castigates Israeli abuse of journalists


UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - A new United Nations report on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories blasts the Israeli government for its heavy-handed treatment of journalists reporting on the military occupation. The 20-page report, which will go before the 63rd sessions of the General Assembly currently underway, singles out the mistreatment of award-winning Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer who was stripped, interrogated, kicked and beaten up when he returned from Europe to his home town in the occupied territory of Gaza last June. 

Mutual censorship in the West Bank and Gaza


GAZA CITY (IPS) - So much is missing as you walk down the street along the shops of Gaza. Food and medicines kept out by the blockade enforced by Israel; but also newspapers once a part of the street landscape. Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda and Al-Ayyam, two newspapers loyal to Fatah, are not around any more. And for once, you couldn’t blame the Israelis for censorship. 

West Bank journalists detained by PA intelligence


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the distention of three Palestinian journalists and a columnist by the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in Bethlehem and Qalqilya towns in the West Bank on Thursday, 8 May 2008. PCHR believes that such arrests constitute an attack on press freedoms and the right to freedom of expression, which are ensured by the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights instruments. 

Thousands attend funeral of slain Gaza journalist


GAZA CITY, 18 April (IPS) - Fadel Shana’a just had to go to the scene of the Israeli bombing. As a Reuters cameraman, that was his job. He wasn’t the only one killed, but through his pursuit of attacks as they happen, he was always more at risk than most others. Fadel Shana’a was killed Wednesday because he was in the firing line, but also because, eyewitnesses said, he had begun to film the tanks that were firing. A barrage of metal shrapnel pierced his body as a tank missile landed close to him. 

Israeli forces in Gaza "willfully kill" journalist


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the crime committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday evening, which took the life of Fadel Shana’a, a Palestinian journalist, when he carrying out his job in Gaza. PCHR expresses utmost concern over continued crimes committed by IOF against journalists and media professionals, which is a reflection of excessive use of force against civilians, and systematic targeting of journalists to prevent them from covering crimes committed against civilians. 

Rights group: Journalist's killers must be prosecuted


Legal deliberations on the murder of UK citizen James Miller have continued since he was killed on 2 May 2003 at the border line between Gaza and Egypt. Miller and a small crew were filming in the area for a documentary on children’s lives. According to investigations by Al Mezan, then-47-year-old Miller was killed by Israeli troops at approximately 11 pm on 2 May 2003 in the al-Shair neighborhood in Rafah. He was with three other persons, including his colleagues Saira Shah and Daniel Edge, and a Palestinian interpreter, Abedul Rahman Abdullah. 

Alan Johnston released after 114 days of captivity


Reporters Without Borders is overjoyed at the news that British journalist Alan Johnston was released in the early hours of 4 July 2007 in Gaza as a result of the intervention of senior Muslim clerics and negotiations between Hamas and his kidnappers. The BBC correspondent had been held hostage for 114 days. “Seeing Johnston free and in good health is an immense relief and a great joy,” the press freedom organisation said. “During the 16 weeks he was held, we became more and more concerned at the increasingly grave threats from his abductors and the apparent inability of the Palestinian authorities to find a solution.” 

CPJ alarmed by gunfire outside Gaza news buildings


The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that the safety of dozens of journalists was endangered by heavy factional fighting today around two Gaza City buildings housing several news organizations. According to CPJ sources and international news reports, Fatah gunmen took over the roofs of the Shawa and Hosari Tower - which houses the Ramattan news agency, the BBC, and Al-Jazeera, among other media outlets - and Al-Johara Tower - which houses the Turkish Ihlas News Agency, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, and other media outlets. 

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