IFJ Warns Hamas Government over Meddling in Journalists' Union Affairs

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the Hamas

Government in Gaza of intimidating journalists after a Gaza -based member of

the Palestinian Journalists' syndicate (PJS), Yousef al Ostaz was called in for

questioning over his activities in the union.

"This is an

outrageous interference in media affairs which must stop immediately," said

Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The Hamas authorities have no business to

investigate the role of an elected leader's work for his union. This reckless

behavior risks disrupting the important work the union is engaged in to unite

journalists in the West Bank and Gaza."

According to

the PJS, the Hamas authorities in Gaza have launched an investigation in the

activities of Ostaz in the syndicat. Ostaz, who was elected on the PJS board in

the congress held in February 2010, has been questioned twice in three days,

says the PJS.

The IFJ says this

Hamas Government's investigation is the latest in a long list of measures which

undermine the development of independent and professional media in Gaza,

including the IFJ efforts to build solidarity between journalists in Gaza and

the West Bank.

Last September,

Hamas stopped the streaming in Gaza by video link of a conference which was

taking place in Ramallah during the visit of IFJ delegation led by the Federation's President, Jim Boumelha.

"This so

called investigation is another attempt to frustrate the creation of an environment

which is conducive to professional journalism in Palestine," added White. "We

are determined to stand by our colleagues in Gaza who have to endure the Hamas

oppressive regime."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 members in 125 countries