26 July 2013 | via IFJ Global
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the closure of two news organisations in Gaza, stating that the right to freedom of expression must be upheld.
According to media reports, the Ma’an news agency and Al-Arabiya TV bureaus in Gaza were closed yesterday, Thursday 25 July, by the Hamas attorney general, with a Hamas official stating that Al-Aribiya’s office had been closed “for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what’s happening in Egypt.”
Regarding the closure of Ma’an’s office, media reports have also quoted a Hamas official as saying that the agency “deliberately publishes false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza” and has “become complicit with Egyptian media outlets in incitement against the Strip.”
“These reports are very worrying,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Media offices should not be closed by authorities based on their own political agenda. We call on the Hamas government to overturn its decision and reopen these stations immediately. Journalists at the offices have committed no crimes and should not be punished for informing the public.”
IFJ affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), has insisted on the right of any media in Gaza to impart reliable facts and information regardless of political interests, and has called on political forces there not to interfere with journalistic work.
“Regardless of political views, the right to freedom of expression and to impart fair and balanced information to the public in Gaza must be respected and upheld,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa.
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