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November 13, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Palestinian Authority Forces Arrest, Beat Journalist


The Jerusalem Post reported:

Palestinian Authority police on Sunday arrested Bethlehem journalist and broadcaster George Canawati on suspicion of “slander? and “insults.?

Canawati, director of Radio Bethlehem 2000, appeared on Monday in court with a black eye and torn shirt. He announced that he had gone on a hunger-strike in protest against his arrest and beating.

He complained that PA policemen physically assaulted him before and during his interrogation.

The court ordered him remanded into custody for 48 hours.

Canawati was arrested at his home in Beit Sahur late Sunday.

Eyewitnesses described the arrest as “violent.? Policemen also searched his home before leading him away.

Web site offered this context:

Canawati has angered the PA as well as officials in Bethlehem with his reports on corruption and inefficiency. Over the last year, Canawati used his weekly radio program to target everybody from Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun, Bethelehem Gov. Abdul Fatah Hemayel to Bethlehem police commander Col. Omar Shalabi.

In his latest arrest, the sources said Canawati was denied access to his attorney and ordered by a court to remain in detention until at least Nov. 13. Neither the United States or the European Union, which finance PA security forces, has responded publicly to the detention of Canawati.

And the Christian news outlet CBN noted, “The Palestinian Authority has a ways to go with freedom of the press if it wants to become a democracy.?

So what did the major media outlets report about this? CAMERA could find not a word. One would think that the arrest of a journalist for reporting – to say nothing of the alleged physical abuse he received – would be of great concern to his colleagues in the press. Imagine how many stories would be written if Israeli soldiers were accused of abusing journalists. No need to imagine, the answer is thousands.

But when Israel cannot be made to look like the bad guy… Where’s the coverage?

palestinian journalist beaten.jpg

In a separate incident last year, another Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Jaradat, alleged that PA forces arrested him for covering a protest. Jaradat claimed he was taken to the police station and, “After that they brutally attacked me, despite me showing my press identification. They took me to the upper floor and continued to beat me with a stick, causing bleeding in my nose. Then they arrested me, with six other people. While they beat me, I asked to see the Director of Police who is a relative of mine and he came after an hour of detention and beatings. He apologized to me and I was released.?

Posted by SC at November 13, 2013 09:42 PM


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