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June 20, 2007

Appeal from Ma'an Editor

Maan threatened.jpe
The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency had considered closing its Gaza office after threats

The editor of the independent Palestinian Ma'an news agency, which was threatened by rival factions, issued an appeal, which highlights, among other things, that there are no longer any foreign reporters covering Gaza:

Meanwhile, we call on Hamas to allow foreign journalists to resume coverage of the Gaza Strip events in order to preserve the freedom of journalism and act as a civilized nation.

One leader threatened to wring a correspondent's neck and another threatened to spread damning reports about Ma'an and so on.

To avoid talking about Ma'an only, let us remember that the press situation in the Palestinian territories is very dangerous; reporters are unable to report the truth as they see it because there are parties which try to determine what main story to choose and what photo to attach to the news story. A leading militia personality threatened a female journalist that if a story is not sent as news, in the form of a short message sent to Palestinian mobile phones, she would suffer terrible repercussions.

At any rate, our families and children, Arabs and foreigners, watch everyday open transmissions on satellite TV stations and radios. From a professional point of view, as long as there are open transmissions on air for every angry rival to say whatever he likes, the situation will remain tense and the wound will remain open.

Recall the uproar when Israel denied press access in the first days of the March 2002 Operation Defensive Shield. Yet, to date, the Committee to Protect Journalists has not even mentioned that foreign journalists are prevented from covering events in the Gaza Strip.

(Hat tip: IMRA)

Posted by TS at June 20, 2007 02:45 AM


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