Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the assurances given today by Salam
Fayyad, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, to bring an
end to the harassment of Palestinian journalists by members of Palestinian security services.
At the meeting
with the IFJ mission to Palestine, the Prime Minister apologized to Palestinian journalists
for the rough treatment some journalists continue to experience at the hand
of his government's security forces saying "These are isolated incidents
that we never condoned and will not tolerate".
"The PM has been
very frank in his promise to work to end any bad treatment meted out to
journalists," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We welcome his goodwill to make
amends but will not hesitate to remind him of his promise whenever new cases
come to light".
the recently-launched government programme "Homestretch to Freedom", the Palestine PM briefed the mission about the
endeavour by his
government to give priority to the defence of journalists, their safety and their social and professional rights.
His intervention to cancel the license fee mounting debts that threatened the
survival of several broadcasting houses has been praised by journalists'
representatives as a first step to improve the statute of journalists.
took place on a tumultuous day where the mission was forbidden to visit
journalists in Gaza as Israeli authorities refused to authorise members of the mission to
cross to Gaza. The Palestine Journalists' Syndicate then organised a video link for its
members in Gaza to join their colleagues at a meeting due to take place in
Ramallah, only to be thwarted by Hamas authorities who stopped the Gaza-based University
of Al Azhar to operate the link.
incredible that both Hamas and Israel take similar hostile action, almost simultaneously
to stop Palestinian journalists from each side of the divide to talk to each
other," said Boumelha. "Whatever the barriers erected by the enemies of press
freedom, Palestinian journalists are determined to act in unison in the fight
for their right to free movement."
Spurred by the
activities generated by the IFJ mission, Palestinian women journalists gathered
at the PJS offices to attend a gender seminar with examples
of equality work by unions in Norway and Cyprus and discuss common
challenges as well as ways to get the important gender issues high on the
agenda of the renewed Palestinian union.
conditions, the possibility of child care and equal opportunities for
female journalists were important issues which could make it possible
for women to continue as journalists and not give up their careers. They
agreed on the need to work within their union and its future gender committee
to obtain more equality and gender mainstreaming in the union and in the
Palestinian media workplaces.
The IFJ mission
also found time to visit journalists in Bethlehem where newly-launched
broadcasting and on-line media are having a dramatic impact on the traditional local
media landscape. Journalists from the various sectors pledged to unite in
launching a local branch representing staff working on all the platforms.
For more information, please contact Monir Zaarour on + 32 472 5876 90
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries