Palestinian Territories: Skyline calls for protection for Palestinian journalists and press freedom from repeated violations
Stockholm - Skyline International for Human is deeply concerned about the increasing violations of Palestinian journalists and media freedom by the Israeli authorities, social media and internal Palestinian parties. It stresses that the policies of restriction and persecution it observes violate a wide range of international conventions that guarantee special protection for journalists, and calls on the international community to move and play a more effective role in this area.
In a statement released today, Saturday, Skyline expresses astonishment and condemnation at the shocking number of media freedom violations documented in March 2023, which amounted to 85 violations, according to the report of the "Journalists Support Committee", an Arab organization that monitors media freedom violations in the Palestinian territories.
Skyline states that these contributed to (53) of the total assaults, as Israeli forces attacked more than (11) journalists with settler involvement, beating them with sticks, kicking and knocking them to the ground, and attempting to run over some of them while they were reporting on the occupation and settler assaults on the citizens of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
The Israeli forces arrested, detained and summoned for interrogation 13 journalists and forced them not to report and fulfil their journalistic duties.
The prison sentence was extended for (5) journalists, namely journalist "Amer Abu Arafa" before he was later released, "Samer Abu Aisha" from Jerusalem the actual prison sentence of him was extended 11 months, the trial of journalist "Lama Abu Ghosheh" was postponed and the prison term was extended, she was arrested twice, and the administrative detention of journalist "Omar Abu Al-Rub" was extended for the fourth consecutive time since his arrest.
Skyline points out that (2) cases have been documented in which journalists have been prevented from reporting on Israeli army abuses, and that the occupation and its settlers have shot at and assaulted journalists, including beating and kicking them it also documented 2 attacks on the Voice of Palestine radio office in occupied Jerusalem, in which its representatives were prevented from holding any event on its behalf and its broadcasting operations were banned in the occupied city of Jerusalem and the 48 territories for a period of six months under the pretext of incitement.
As for social media violations, "Skyline" observes Meta's continued violations of Palestinian content, which is constantly deleted and restricted. More than (7) cases were observed, distributed between the deletion of Instagram and Facebook pages and the blocking of journalists' pages, which amounted to (5) violations, including the "Watan Agency" page, whose content was blocked for some 3.6 million followers, and the accounts of the page's editors were also deleted.
The management of the YouTube website also permanently deleted the channel "Jerusalem Drama Today" on the grounds that it shows a series that violates the norms of Nazism and racism. It was also registered that the French channel France 24 suspended journalist "Leila Odeh" from her work because of her support for Palestine.
As for the internal Palestinian violations, in the month of March 2023, (25) cases of violations were registered, of which (24) in the West Bank, distributed among the registration of (3) cases of arrest of journalists, namely "Moath Washha", who was released, and "Haj bin Mufleh", who was released, and "Nour Khallaf", while (3) journalists were summoned and the detention of (3) others was extended.
There were recorded (4) cases of assault, (7) cases of preventing reporting, (2) raids on the headquarters of Watan TV in Ramallah and on the home of the journalist "Amir Abu Aram" and (3) cases of deletion of photographic material and confiscation of equipment. .
A case of assault was registered in the Gaza Strip, namely the summoning of journalist "Hani Abu Rizk", correspondent of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida newspaper, for interrogation, from which he was later released.
Skyline stresses that the unjustified figures and attacks that have been observed are a blatant violation of the legal provisions that guarantee freedom of opinion, expression and journalistic work. It further emphasis that the relevant international bodies must play their role in monitoring the violations of the Israeli army, social network sites and internal authorities.
In this context, Skyline points out that the negative role of the international community toward the practices of the Israeli apparatus with respect to the right to freedom of opinion, expression, and journalistic work-particularly the attacks on journalists-and the lack of legal oversight of its work provides implicit cover for Israel's continuation of its violations.
At the end of its statement, the human rights foundation ‘’Skyline’’ calls on the Israeli authorities to stop their constant attacks on Palestinian journalists, to work for the release of all those detained, and to ensure that the security and military services respect members of the press. It also calls social media networking sites to cease their restrictive practices against Palestinian content and to respect the rules of freedom of opinion and expression enshrined in international law.