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Tuesday, October 26 2010

PA Moves Against Press Freedom, Media Tour Cancelled

As if press freedom in the West Bank and Gaza is depressed enough. The PA and Hamas put enough pressure on the Palestinian reporters who Western news agencies already over-rely on.

Now, the PA is moving against Western journalists themselves. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The Palestinian Authority said on Monday that foreign journalists who visit the West Bank through Israeli media facilitators are “unwelcome.”

The move is seen as an attempt by the PA to prevent journalists from writing stories that may reflect negatively on the Palestinian government’s image.

The Jerusalem-based Media Central organization thus canceled a planned tour of foreign journalists to Jericho, which was to have taken place on Tuesday . . .

However, a spokesman for the PA informed Media Central that foreign journalists should coordinate their visits to the West Bank through the PA’s press office and not through Israeli bodies. The spokesman said that foreign journalists whose visits are organized by Israeli groups are “unwelcome.”

(MediaCentral is a project of HonestReporting, providing support services for journalists in the region.)

It's not hard to imagine what West Bank coverage will look like if the PA is responsible for facilitating press tours. Hopefully, journalists will realize their own freedom is at stake.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: See the following Jerusalem Post update on the situation.

Also, MediaCentral director Aryeh Green released this statement:

"In four years of providing professional, credible services to the foreign press based in or visiting Israel and the PA, I am concerned and appalled that a representative of the Palestinian Authority would lay down such an exclusionary and divisive policy."

"The PA - interested in promoting coverage of subjects such as the history of a city like Jericho with its multi-faceted and multi-religious layers of settlement - has in the past been a partner with MediaCentral in helping foreign correspondents develop a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of the issues surrounding the conflict(s) in this region. I very much hope this is not a new and worrying step in the hardening of a Palestinian anti-Israel stance, nor a reflection of mounting restrictions on freedom of the press in the Palestinian areas."



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Thanks - blogged it here:

I added the goals of the Palestine Media Center, translated from Arabic, showing that their entire existence is to promote propaganda and avoid the truth.

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