IFJ Accuses Hamas over Shutdown of Journalists' Union Office in Gaza

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the action of the Hamas

Internal Security department which closed down the office of the Palestinian

Journalists' Syndicate (PJS) in Gaza, accusing them of ‘inexcusable intrusion"

in the internal affairs of Palestinian journalists.

"The action by the Hamas

government is a violation of journalists' rights and a slap in the face of

Palestinians who are courageously fighting for their rights and the

independence of journalism in appalling conditions," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President,

who led an IFJ delegation to Palestine last month. "We join our affiliate the

Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate in their strong protest and we support their

demand for an investigation into this action."

The PJS is in the

process of strengthening its work including organising workshops for journalists

to adopt a modern constitution with the aim of uniting journalists across

Palestine who are currently divided both by Israeli restrictions on freedom of

movement and the political divisions between the Hamas government in Gaza and

the Palestine Authority in the West Bank.

"It is impossible not

to conclude that Hamas authorities are targeting journalists who wish to

promote solidarity and unity within the Palestinian community," said Boumelha.

"It is another example of Hamas intolerance in the Gaza strip which has seen

other actions to restrict media freedoms, including the closure of several media and detentions of tens of


Last month, Hamas government

stopped the Gaza-based University of Al Azhar from operating a video link

organised by the PJS for its members in Gaza to join their colleagues at a

meeting in Ramallah with the IFJ delegation visiting Palestine after its

members had been denied permission to enter Gaza by Israel.

The IFJ says that

Hamas government must take action to

protect journalists including the members of the PJS secretariat in Gaza.

"Immediate action

should be taken to correct this inexcusable intrusion in the affairs of

journalists by allowing the PJS office to reopen," said Boumelha.  "At this time of increased tensions there

should be more protection for journalists and an end to all forms of



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

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 members in 125 countries