Palestine: Court orders closure of 59 websites

A Palestinian court in Ramallah ordered the closure of 59 websites on Monday 21 October - a move strongly condemnded by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined its affiliate in demanding the cancellation of the closure orders.

Screeshot: Quds News Network

Most of the 59 websites are Palestinian and all of them are considered to be "in opposition to the Palestinian Authority". According to the prosecutor's office, these media are guilty of "publishing content that threatens national security and civil safety".

The PJS confirmed that the court decision was based on a 2018 decree on cyber-criminality. The union called on the Supreme Council of the Judiciary to take the necessary and appropriate measures to annul this decision.

The PJS declared: "This is a black day in the history of the Palestinian media. This law is a true sword of Damocles hanging over journalists, and this decision to block the sites contradicts all previous commitments and agreements we reached with the government."

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said: "We support our affiliate's demand for the suspension of this decision.  Any legislation that allows for collective media sentences and their suspension from publishing is unacceptable and must be reviewed or annulled."

The Palestinian Authority spokesperson, Ibrahim Melhem, said that even though the government could not intervene in the justice decision, it had asked the Court to reconsider its verdict.

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

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