Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Israeli authorities to return
equipment seized by soldiers after a raid on Radio Bethlehem 2000 last
week in Beit Jala near Bethlehem, shutting down the station.
"We strongly condemn this
heavy handed act of censorship," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The
fact that the Israeli military considers the station's broadcast as negative to
their interests do not justify shutting it down."
According to the station's
manager, George Canawati, Israeli military raided the station's headquarters on
25 August and ordered the technician dismantle the equipment for broadcasting
which they took away. They reportedly said they did not like Radio Bethlehem's
broadcasts and warned they would bomb the station if it resumed broadcasting.
Journalists Syndicate (PJS), an IFJ affiliate, joined the staff of Radio
Bethlehem and journalists in the West Bank in protests
which were held on Sunday to demand the return of the confiscated material.
The IFJ supports the
protest and says the soldiers' action against the radio station, which is otherwise
popular because of its entertainment and culture programming, illustrates
intolerance of alternative media views of the situation in Palestine.
"This intimidation will
only further alienate people and lead to further resentment," added White. "The
authorities must immediately return the equipment and put an end to this knee-jerk
form of military censorship."
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide