The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned recent attacks on Palestinian journalists by both governments of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority which are locked in a political power struggle.
The recent reports of torturing journalists in the Gaza Strip and West Bank is the culmination of an intimidation campaign against journalists and media which started during the violent confrontation between Hamas and PA security forces in June 2007 says the IFJ.
At least eight journalists had been arrested in recent days, some of them, according to multiple reports, suffering torture while in detention before being released without charge.
“Both Hamas and the Palestinian authority are responsible for these outrageous assaults,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “In the process these Palestinian governments are fundamentally damaging the Palestinian cause.”
The IFJ has called for both governments to investigate these incidents openly and transparently and punish those who found responsible.
The IFJ had also rejected the Hamas government’s attempt to justify the ban it imposed on the distribution within the Gaza Strip of the three national news papers, which are published in the West Bank, and the claim that this is a political rather than a press freedom issue.
Since the start of this internal conflict last year, both political groups had closed down media organisations in the territory they control accusing them of being mouthpiece of their rivals.
“The tit-for-tat attacks on media must stop and the distribution ban on these newspapers should be revoked immediately,” said White. “Journalists and media should be allowed to do their job without fear. A free press is vital for the people of the region and all Palestinian voices must be heard in the debate about the future of Palestine.”
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2211
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.