Palestine: New agreement ends detention of journalists for work related issues

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the adoption of an agreement between the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) and  the Public Prosecutor to support freedom of expression and press freedom in Palestine.

The agreement, which was signed by Deputy public prosecutor Ashraf Erekat and PJS president Nasser Abu Baker on 28 September in the presence of Ammar Dweik, the director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, puts an end to the practice of detaining or imprisoning journalists for their professional work. 

In recent years several journalists have been detained on charges of defamation or similar offences, a practice authorised by the current Palestinian Press and Publication Law and the Palestinian penal code. Ending this practice is seen by the journalism community as a major step to decriminalise press offences in Palestine. 

A statement issued after the signing said that “both sides agree that this agreement is a practical follow up on president Abbas’ signature of the ‘Declaration of Media Freedom in the Arab World’ last August and it will put an end to the detention of journalists for their work”. 

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “The IFJ welcomes this agreement which could inspire many countries in the world as another step toward a free and secure working environment for journalists. We will continue to work with the PJS to modernise the media legislation in the country in line with the principles of the Declaration of Media Freedom in the Arab World.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

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