It documented 407 Israeli media freedom violations last year, the largest number since it began monitoring them a decade ago – journalists and media outlets targeted on the phony pretexts of engaging in “incitement” or ties to terrorist groups.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Israel 101st among world nations on media freedom, saying “journalists face a ‘military censorship’ and must deal with censorship orders.”
“Abuses of the Israeli army against Palestinian and foreign journalists are common, especially while covering demonstrations.”
Media freedom ends where alleged national security begins. Since last October, Israel arrested 19 Palestinian journalists without just cause, 10 still imprisoned, six held administratively uncharged, others on phony accusations of involvement in “incitement” or ties to terrorist organizations.
According to PA information ministry head Mohammed Khalifa, Israel unjustifiably claims “everything that’s happening is due to incitement, not to the occupation and its injustices.”
“Therefore an attempt has been made to turn all Palestinian journalists into inciters and harm those who bring the Palestinian story to local or world attention…This is another way for the occupation to intimidate the Palestinians.”
On April 23, Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate board member Omar Nazzal was arrested at the Israeli/Jordanian border while en route abroad to attend a European Federation of Journalists conference.
He’s unjustly administratively detained uncharged for nonexistent “involvement in a terrorist organization,” according to Shin Bet.
He committed no crimes. Israel wants him silenced. His attorney, Mahmoud Hassan, believes he was targeted for recent articles claiming Israel assassinated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member Omar Nafef Zayed in Bulgaria last February.
On April 6, journalist Saheh Dweik was arrested and charged with social media incitement – alleging she called for violence. She called accusations fabricated.
Journalist Muhammad al-Qiq hunger struck over three months against his unlawful administrative detention uncharged. He’ll be released on May 21 provided Israel doesn’t renege on its agreement.
Medical science can’t explain how he managed to survive so long, ingesting only water. His ordeal took a terrible toll on his body, perhaps permanent damage.
Free expression is grounds for arrest in Israel. Exposing regime wrongdoing risks assassination. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demand Nazzal’s immediate release.
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