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MADA Monitors Media Freedoms Violations in Palestine during June 2013.

PNN It has been long time since journalists were exposed to only little number of violations during a month, but in June 2013 the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms monitored a low number of violations against journalists. The worst violations last month was the attack and arrest of Palestine Public TV crew (the correspondent Ahmed Shawer and cameraman Bashar Nazzal) during their coverage of the weekly protest against Israeli illegal settlements and the apartheid separation wall in the village of kofor kadom. Another was the injury of the Associated Press Photographer Naser Shiokhi during his coverage of the clashes erupted near Ofer prison between Palestinian Youth and the Israeli Occupation Forces. And in Jerusalem the Photo Journalist Saeed Alqaq was detained. The Palestinian Violations were very few as well; first the director of Radio Bethlehem 2000 was arrested for publishing a false statement on the Radio's Website. His arrest came after he publicly denied the statement once he became aware and sure of its falseness, in Gaza freelance journalist Mohamed Othman was attacked by Gaza Municipality security guard. MADA expresses their satisfaction for this noticed drop in attacks on journalists in the past month, and hopes that decrease will continue, yet MADA also condemns all violations against journalists and demand that those responsible to be held accountable, and we reconfirm the need to respect the freedom of expression which is guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Palestinian Basic Law. Details of Violations: (3/6) the director of Radio Bethlehem 2000 George Canawati, was detained by the Public Prosecutors in Bethlehem for publishing a press release by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on the Radio's webpage, the press release turned out to be false, so Canawati then published a statement denying the press release. Canawati's lawyer Osama Abu Zakya reported to MADA that his client received a summon to appear before the public prosecutor at 11:30 am on Monday 3rd June 2013, he accompanied Canawati to the public prosecutor office and listened to the investigation, which revolved only on the publishing of the press release of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and what was rumored of investigating Canawati on criminal charges that was untrue. Abu Zakya added: "big pressure was put on George to disclose the source of the press release". Canawati was released the next day on judicial bail worth 5,000 Jordanian Dinar "approximately 7,000 US dollars" and a court hearing was scheduled on September 30th 2013. (5/6) Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked the Associated Press photographer Nasser Shyoukhi, during his coverage of clashes erupted between the IOF and Palestinian youth in front of Ofer prison, near the city of Ramallah, and on Wednesday, June 5th 2013. Shyoukhi reported to MADA that he went to cover the clashes with two of his fellow journalists, and even though they were standing away from the demonstrators and Israeli soldiers, one of the soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullet deliberately toward them, injuring and bruising his shoulder. (8/6) Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained APA agency photographer Saeed Alqaq (26 years old) after one of the soldiers spit on him, immediately after he completed his coverage of the sit-in protest against the Festival "the Israeli lights" in the old city of Jerusalem. Alqaq reported to MADA that he was sitting next to one of his colleagues at the end of sit-in, when a group of Israeli soldiers passed by, that is when one soldier spit at him, so Alqaq asked the soldier "why?" with anger. The soldier then started pushing and cursing Alqaq, who stated: "I tried to defend myself, but a group of soldiers gathered around and took me to the police station located in Salah Aldein Road. I stayed there for half an hour, handcuffed, during which an officer who knew me came and I explained to him the story, after a half an hour he returned and apologized to me, and said that they will release me only after I sign a paper stating that I do not want anything from the soldier who assaulted me, and that is what happen after about 4 hours". (21/6) The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) attacked and arrested Palestine Public TV correspondent Ahmed Shawer and the cameraman Bashar Nazzal, on Friday 21st June 2013, during their coverage of Kofor Kadom village weekly March Near Nablus in the West bank. Nazzal reported to MADA after his release on 24th June 2013, that he went with a number of colleagues to cover the march, by the end a soldier ordered him to stop filming, and suddenly after less than a minute a group of soldiers attacked Nazal and his colleague Shawer, beat them severely for a long time with hands and legs, which caused them bruises throughout their bodies, along with insults and curses. Nazal Added: "After that they handcuffed and arrested us, and we were supposedly supposed to appear at court next Tuesday, but one of the soldiers came and said that they will release us after we each pay bail of 1,800 shekels -- "approximately 495 US dollars". They were released around on Monday evening 24th June 2013. (24/6) Gaza Municipality Security Guard attacked the freelance journalist and Photographer Mohamed Ahmed Othman at the sight of police members and municipality staff on charges of filming a conversation which took place between one of his friends and the general manager of public administration of the municipality, on Monday24th June 2013. Othman reported to MADA that he went with his friend Hesham Sakik to the municipality hoping to solve an issue regarding his families land. He casually placed his camera on the desk of the Director of Public Relations and Media and the General Director of the General Administration Hatem Al Sheikh Khalil. They discussed the issue then left the office. Othamn added: "After about two minutes, my friend received a call from his father who informed us that Mr. Hatem Sheikh called him and was upset because we filmed the conversation, and that he indents to jail my friend and his father, even though we did not film and there was no memory in the camera at all. So we headed back to his office clear things and I gave him my mobile and camera to see that we did not film anything, but he got so angry for not finding the memory, I explained that there was no memory from the beginning, but did not believe it". Othamn added: "he called the police, and they took me to a room in the lowest floor at the municipality, they searched me and confiscated everything I had, and suddenly after 10 minutes a person dressed as a civilian walked in, with the presence of the police members and municipality staff, he directed few punches at my chest and stomach so I would confess and hand over the alleged camera memory, and he later turned out to be the Municipality security guard. After a half an hour of detention, investigation, and beating, they found no evidence for their alleged charges, and so they took me back to the director's office, and then released me after I verbally pledged not to publish "the alleged film". I filed an official complain at Alshoja'ya Police center, then went to the hospital and got a medical report of physical evidence from the beating".

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Publication:Palestine News Network (West Bank, Palestine)
Date:Jul 3, 2013
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