The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” presented an oral statement before the human rights council in its 37th regular session under agenda item 7 in Geneva.
The oral statement focused on the recent Israeli crackdown on Palestinian media outlets & broadcasters.
In October 2017, Israeli Occupation Forces carried out widespread attacks across the West Bank targeting media broadcasting companies including Pale-media, Trans-media and Ramsat.
Israeli forces confiscated the companies’ private property and issued a military order that forced the closure of 8 offices for six months. The Israeli occupying forces falsely accused the companies of broadcasting incitement, while these companies merely provide broadcasting services to Palestinian media outlets.
After the raid and closure, Transmedia reported losses of 600,000 USD due to the closure and confiscation of equipment. Amer Ja’bari, the general director of Transmedia, and his colleague Ibrahim Al Ja’bari were detained and forced to pledge never again to engage with any media related activities.
The Israeli military order to close these offices for six months was not only disproportionate, it was also vague and imprecise and did not establish any connection between the work of these companies as media service providers and the incitement threat Israel claimed.
Furthermore, the decision to close these companies is not only unlawful; it has also impacted at least 60 Palestinian families of journalists who have now become unemployed.
Throughout their oral statement MADA center, welcomed the recommendations made for Israel under the UPR by France and Norway and assured it is important to also highlight that the attack on media in the occupied Palestinian territory has been taken a new whole level whereby service providers are also targeted to silence Palestinian media.
In their recommendation MADA center called the HRC to support a proposition for a report in the upcoming sessions focused on the suppression of freedom of expression in Palestine. We find this to be especially important because Palestinian journalists play a key role in reporting on a unique situation in a territory under prolonged military occupation.
Moreover, General director of MADA Mousa Rimawi participated in a conference on freedom of expression organized by progressive connexions in Lisbon on 17-18 / 3/2018, where he presented several oral interventions in the conference on the challenges facing freedom of expression in the world based on the results of UNESCO report on global trends of freedom of expression and media development that was issued last year.
Throughout the conference Mr., Rimawi pointed out the 530 documented violations against media freedom in 2017, were IOF committed 71% of the overall violations; that impose a significant threat on Palestinian journalists’ lives. Besides, the severe impacts on the future of the Palestinian press in general, under the continued and deliberate Israeli violations against media freedom that aim to silence the Palestinian voice.
Whereas, the Palestinian parties in West Bank and Gaza Strip committed a total of 29% of the overall recorded violations that coincided with the recent adoption of the Cyber-Crimes decree, which the majority of its clauses constitute a grave breach of the right to freedom of expression and privacy.
Finally, he addressed the repercussions of exercising self-censorship by Palestinian journalists which topped to outrageous percentages in Palestine.