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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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More than 500 Fatah and Hamas Media Freedom Violations Since Split

One of the results of this brutality has been the promotion of self-censorship on the part of journalists and media outlets
Veteran French journalist Didier Francois lies on a stretcher at the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after being inured during heavy gun battles between rival Palestinian factions.

Veteran French journalist Didier Francois lies on a stretcher at the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after being inured during heavy gun battles between rival Palestinian factions.
Photo Credit: Ahmad Khateib / Flash90

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has released a statement saying that since “the internal Palestinian division in mid-June 2007,” the “Palestinian people are still suffering from its very bad and negative effects.”

Palestinian Journalists are subjected to massive violations which include arrest, torture, beatings, detention, and repeated calls for investigation, in addition to the closure of media outlets, the prevention of journalists from collaborating together, and the prevention of distributing daily newspapers, the rights Network says.

The number of violations against journalists and the media committed by both sides since the start of the division, when Hamas evicted the PLO from Gaza, reached beyond 500 violations, reads the statement.

One of the results of this brutality has been the promotion of self-censorship on the part of journalists and media outlets, seriously curtailing the quality of news reports available to Palestinians.

The Network says there has been some improvement in the area of media freedoms in 2012 and in the first months of 2013, but adds that “the serious violations against journalists during the past month do not promise serious breakthroughs in the status of media freedoms, especially with the stalled efforts to implement a reconciliation.”

Having said that, the Network quickly reminds us that the real, and biggest violators are still “the Israeli occupation and its settlers,” whom the Network accuses of committing more than 800 violations during the same period, including the killing of eight journalists.

Captain Eytan Buchman, IDF Spokesperson, responded to an inquiry by The Jewish Press regarding the above accusation of killing journalists:

“The IDF takes every possible measure to contend with security threats using the most minimal, effective measures. In many cases, but more so in Gaza, terrorist groups such as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad exploit civilians and even the media as human shields. While this represents a conscious and deliberate decision to endanger local residents and journalists, the IDF still takes every possible measure to minimize collateral damage, even while rockets launched from urban areas in Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians.

“During operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the IDF went beyond what was required both by international law and the IDF’s military code. This included the use of pinpoint fire, real-time intelligence on targets to prevent civilian causalities and warnings being given to local residents prior to IDF operations.

“Numerous sources reveal the cynical exploitation of media coverage. For example, AP themselves live-tweeted the strike on a media building that housed an Islamic Jihad meeting. For more examples, please see this article.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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