The IFJ was shocked to learn of the targeting of Maan news anchorwoman Nahid Abu Tuaima, in a Facebook smear campaign that included rape threats. The violence followed a programme she hosted on 20 June, which discussed a draft legislation to strengthen women’s rights and protection against domestic violence.
As well as a high-profile journalist, Abu Tuaima is a well-known activist. She has directed the Gender Equality Unit at Birzeit University and has championed women’s rights for decades.
The journalist filed a legal complaint on 21 June, the morning following the offensive posts.
In its statement, the PJS warned against attacks on journalists and called on the authorities, the Public Prosecutor in particular, to preserve freedoms, enforce the law, and hold those seeking to create division accountable.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The IFJ condemns these offensive threats made publicly by identifiable individuals. Our colleague filed a complaint eight days ago; it is a shame that she wasn’t yet called to testify, and we are not aware of any action taken on her complaint. The Palestinian government must take these attacks seriously and act swiftly”.
The violent campaign on social media, which targeted Abu Tuaima and other human rights’ activists and groups, was led by individuals and Hizb-ut Tahrir, a conservative Islamist party. In addition to Abu Tuaima, the Women Media and Development, a Palestinian grass-root organisation that advocates for women’s rights and free speech, denounced the threats and filed a legal complaint under this case too.
PJS and organisations promoting civil rights and human rights have announced they will start legal proceedings against those behind the smear campaign.
The IFJ has run a long-term gender equality campaign to urge world governments to ratify the International Labor Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 against harassment and violence in the world of work. The Federation reminds that the convention includes specific provisions against online harassment and urges Palestine to ratify the instrument without delay.