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Israel uses military laws to strangle Palestinian media

23 October 2017

At least eight Palestinian TV and media production companies were raided on 17 October in the West Bank and are being forced to close for six months. Two journalists were also arrested. Israeli forces have accused the media outlets of incitement against Israel.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) backed its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), have condemned the media harassment, urged the Israeli authorities to honour freedom of speech, and demanded the release of the detained journalists.

Israeli military forces raided the offices of TV channels Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Palestine Alyoum, as well as production companies Pal Media, Trans Media and Ram Sats’ in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem, PJS reported.

The equipment together with corporate documents were seized and two members of staff were arrested.

Reports quoted Israeli officials accusing the targeted media of associating with Hamas and inspiring terrorists to commit attacks against Israel.

The PJS protested against the raid in front of the UN offices in Ramallah, where the head of the union, Nasser Abu Baker, said that it reinforces fears that these violations are part of the Israeli government’s policies in restricting the Palestinian media.

"We condemn the Israeli systemic and repeated violence against Palestinian media and journalists,” added Abu Baker, including the closure of several radio stations and confiscating equipment in recent years.

The PJS offices remain available for the closed channels and companies to work in as part of the union’s obligation in protecting media and journalists.

The IFJ joined the PJS in calling for an immediate and fair investigation in to the use of military laws to close Palestinian TV channels and media production companies.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"The Israeli government should stop using its arsenal of military occupation laws to strangle Palestinian media. It should stop its campaign of looting and closing media based on charges and evidence that have no chance of being accepted in front of its own courts."

Tags: , palestine, palestinian journalists' syndicate, ifj, israel, media freedom