Friday, January 26, 2018

Palestinians: Silencing and Intimidating Journalists

Palestinians: Silencing and Intimidating Journalists

by Bassam Tawil  •  January 26, 2018 at 5:00 am
  • The five journalists were arrested shortly after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas signed the controversial cyber-crime law in June 2017. Critics say the new law is aimed at silencing and intimidating journalists and political opponents of the PA and its president.
  • Ammar Dweik, head of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, said the new law is "one of the worst" since the PA was established in 1994.
  • The Palestinian Authority claims it does not tolerate "incitement." The "incitement" it is referring to, however, is criticism of Abbas and his cronies. In fact, the PA tolerates incitement quite well, and has spent decades driving such incitement -- when it is directed against Israel and the US. Indeed, Palestinians are free to incite against Israel and the US day and night.
Palestinian journalists protest in Nablus to demand that the Palestinian Authority release their colleague, Tareq Abu Zeid, on June 24, 2016. (Image source: Al Resalah)
Palestinian journalists have decided to renew their campaign against the Palestinian Authority's assault on freedom of expression.
The decision came after the Palestinian Authority (PA) filed charges against journalist Tareq Abu Zeid, for "incitement" and "jeopardizing the security of the State of Palestine."
Abu Zeid is the latest victim of a new Palestinian law targeting journalists and social media activists.
Earlier this week, a Palestinian magistrate's court in Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, decided to refer the case of Abu Zeid to the PA's Grand Criminal Court. Abu Zeid, who was arrested in August 2017 for 15 days, is facing charges over Facebook posts criticizing the Palestinian Authority. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of one year in prison and a fine.


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