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Israeli forces close down television & arrest 3 media workers

14 March 2016

Israeli forces have closed Palestine Today, a West Bank Ramallah-based TV station, and arrested its manager as well as 2 media professionals over allegations of inciting violence.

The International Federation of journalists (IFJ), which represents 600,000 journalists across the globe, stands by its affiliates the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) in condemning this brutal attack against press freedom and asks the UN to take immediate action to combat the escalation of attacks against the press in the occupied territories. 

On Friday, Israeli forces raided the offices of Palestine today in Ramallah over allegations of inciting violence against Israel and its citizens and ordered its closure. The decision follows the Israel security cabinet decision’s on 10 March to close down Palestinian media accused of incitement. The station’s director Farouk Alyat, photo-journalist Mohammed Amr and technician Shabib Shabib were arrested.

The media company Trans-Media based in the city of Bireh was also closed. Media reports that Palestine Today, which has offices in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, continued to broadcast to the West Bank via its Lebanese transmitters. 

PJS condemned the wave of violence that has targeted journalists and points to the closure of several local radio stations a few months ago in al-Khalili city. The union is aware of additional written warnings ordering the closure of other media companies.

A PJS statement said:

"Since the beginning of 2016 there has been more than 40 Israeli violations against journalists and media organisations.
"We are very concerned about the conditions under which media professional ought to work on the ground."

PJS fears that the latest repressive measures taken by Israeli forces form part of the government’s intention to shut down Palestinian radio and television stations under the pretext of incitement against Israeli occupation.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"We cannot tolerate these continuous attacks from Israeli authorities to muzzle Palestinian press.
"Incitement of terror is a dangerous accusation to make against a media and a decision to close it down cannot occur without due process.
"We call on the UN High Commissioner for human rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to investigate violations of press freedom in Palestine without delay."

Tags: , palestinian journalists' syndicate, palestine, ifj, journalist safety, journalists arrested, closure, un