MADA Report: Attacks on Journalists Escalate in March

15.04.11 – 19:16 Bethlehem – C Martin/PNN – These are not good times for journalists in Palestine. This the conclusion can be reached after reading the monthly media freedom violations reports published by MADA, the Palestinian Center for development and media freedoms.



This organisation defines itself as an independent, nongovernmental and nonprofit organisation that develops the Palestinian media and defends journalists and media institutions. In its report MADA exposes violations perpetrated againts journalists in the the West Bank and Gaza by the Israeli Army, Hamas Security Forces and PA Security Services.

According to this organisation, of the reported episodes, violations commited by the Israeli Army remains the most frequent in the region. Journalists are attacked, detained and arrested throughout Palestine.

Also, Gaza based journalists have frecuently suffered hardship and violations by the security forces in the Gaza Strip, including raids on various media outlet offices that covering the non-violent March 15 youth protests and marches commemorating Land Day.

The PA Security Forces’ violations involved as well harassing reporters with ongoing summons and repeated postponements for investigation and court trails.

According to MADA´s report, a correspondent from WAFA news agency, Thaer Fakousa, was beaten by Israeli soldiers while covering the weekly Beit Omar march in Hebron city on Saturday 5 March 2011. Another WAFA correspondent, Juaid Altamimi, was detained by Israeli forces while reporting from the old city of Hebron and held in custody for 4 days.

Al-Quds newspaper photographer Mahmoud A’lian told MADA about the Israel army practices: “they banned all journalists from covering the clashes, there were about 21 journalists when soldiers began pushing us and preventing us from reaching events; they also beat Palestine Public TV cameraman Nader Baybres.” The journalist were covering the clashes that erupted between Israeli Border Police and Palestinian civilians in the Silwan -Jerusalem following Friday prayer on 11 March 2011.

CNN correspondent Tala abu Rahmi said about Hamas Security Forces:  “Members of public investigation unit raided the office in Gaza city nervously where the workers in the office were horrified, they searched the office and asked about my office where it was switched off and tried to confiscate cameras, but the workers prevented them so they just took the tape. Then they leave our office and went to the Jabanese TV office,” MADA reports.

Also according to MADA, the police in Gaza attacked al-Watan local radio correspondent Nasr Abu Alfoul on Saturday 2011, while covering youth activities in Aljundi Almajhoul yard in Gaza city : “While I was covering events from the yard I was approached by three members of the police that wanted to arrest me, I told them that I was live on air, but they didn’t listen and took me by force to a room near the yard where they accused me of providing [Ramallah] with information. I denied the accusation so they beat me severely with sticks and batons; then after two hours they released me after coercing me into signing a pledge of commitment to public order”, MADA informed.

In their report, MADA says that Palestinian Public Investigation Unit personnel assaulted the freelance journalist Peter Beigin while covering a youth sit-in protest demanding an end to internal Palestinian division in Al-Manara Square, Ramallah, on 19 March 2011. Beigin said that individuals belonging to the security unit took him along with two protestors to a nearby police station where they attacked him. Following the beating officers handed Beigin to the police, however he was not taken into custody. He added: “I stayed at the police station for about half an hour then I went to the hospital for a medical report in order to file a complaint, which I did, but so far I haven’t receive any response.”

Those cases examplify how hard has become reporting in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the attacks and practices against journalists and media outlets, and the continued threats issued against them by security services in the Gaza Strip.

MADA demand that the security services in Palestine must respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression and ends its policy of intimidation and harassment of journalists. This organisation also calls upon the international community to apply pressure on Israel to cease all violations against journalists and hold accountable those responsible.


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