The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has
today condemned the closure of two news organisations in Gaza, stating that the
right to freedom of expression must be upheld.
According to media reports, the Ma'an news agency and
Al-Arabiya TV bureaus in Gaza were closed yesterday, Thursday 25 July, by the
Hamas attorney general, with a Hamas official stating that Al-Aribiya's office
had been closed "for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign
against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt."
Regarding the closure of Ma'an's office, media reports
have also quoted a Hamas official as saying that the agency "deliberately
publishes false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza" and has "become
complicit with Egyptian media outlets in incitement against the Strip."
"These reports are very worrying," said IFJ President
Jim Boumelha. "Media offices should not be closed by authorities based on their
own political agenda. We call on the Hamas government to overturn its decision
and reopen these stations immediately. Journalists at the offices have
committed no crimes and should not be punished for informing the public."
IFJ affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate
(PJS) has insisted on the right of any media in Gaza to impart reliable facts and information regardless of
political interests, and has called on political forces there not to interfere
with journalistic work.
"Regardless of political views, the right to
freedom of expression and to impart fair and balanced information to the public
in Gaza must be respected and upheld," said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134