Reporters Without Borders

Illegal action by Israeli authorities shuts down Palestinian media centre

Illegal action by Israeli authorities shuts down Palestinian media centre

Published on Wednesday 4 April 2012.
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Reporters Without Borders is shocked by a raid by Israeli security forces two days ago on a Palestinian radio, television and online media network set up by Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem.

“With this illegal intrusion into the premises of media organizations in illegally occupied and annexed Palestinian territory, Israeli forces have once again flouted international law with impunity,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“They are doing all they can to prevent the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian media in occupied Palestinian territory, in East Jerusalem in particular.”

The press freedom organization demands the Al-Quds University community network be allowed to reopen.

In the early afternoon, dozens of Israeli police officers invaded the offices of the media centre in the Al-Khaldyeh district of East Jerusalem. The network is part of the university’s Institute of Modern Media, and comprises the radio station Houna Al-Quds and a news agency with the same name,

The raid took place on the day of the launch ceremony for the Jerusalem-based multimedia community network. A simultaneous transmission from Ramallah and Jerusalem via Skye was cut off. Police seized equipment and private files and arrested two employees, Adel Ruished and Mohannad Izheman, who were released later.

The Quds Net News Agency has posted photographs of the operation on its website.

The network’s editor, Mohammad Abu Arqub, told Agence France-Presse the police said the operation was a result of an order signed by Israel’s internal security minister stating that the media network was linked to the Palestinian Authority, which is banned from any activity in the city by Israeli law.

Thus the Israeli leadership has found a legal loophole justifying the closure, which is illegal under international law.

In a statement, Al-Quds University denied that the media network was linked to the Palestinian Authority.

By using this false pretext, the Israeli authorities aim to discredit Palestinian media outlets and justify restricting press freedom.

The assault took place a month after a raid by Israeli troops on two Palestinian TV stations, Al-Watan and Al-Quds Educational TV – also linked to Al-Quds University — on 29 February in Ramallah, a city under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The two stations were forced to close as a result.

Israeli authorities said the raids were carried out on two “pirate” TV stations broadcasting without licences.

Reporters Without Borders also deplores the arrest by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus yesterday of Muhammad Anwar Muna, a 30-year-old Palestinian reporter for the news agency Quds Press. It was the fourth time he had been arrested and he has spent a total of more than four years behind bars.

Reporters Without Border notes that many journalists are detained in Israeli prisons.

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