A Call for the Respect of Media Freedoms Away from Repression

2018-07-27 01:50

Statements

After the preventive arrest of journalist Huthaifah Jamous
The Journalist Support Committee calls for respect of media freedoms and to provide space for free press work away from repression

The Journalist Support Committee (JSC) condemned the arrest of journalist Huthaifah Jamous by the Preventive Security Services without a warrant or any legal basis.

The Committee said in a press statement that "the Preventive Security Services arrested the photojournalist Huthaifah Jamous from the town of Abu Dis east of occupied Jerusalem, after being summoned on Sunday 22 July 2018, without providing any reasonable or legal cause."

The committee denounced the persistence of Palestinian Authority Security Apparatuses in the West Bank and the use of false pretences to arrest, subpoena and detain journalists. The arrest of journalists "proves the decline of public freedoms in the Palestinian territories and constitutes a danger and a threat to journalistic work" the committee clarified.

The Committee holds those who "colluded" in the detention process the responsibility for the journalist's safety. "The repression of journalists to silence media freedoms threatens to disrupt their work and profession, and these repressive measures will not deter them from exercising their media role in disseminating the truth."

The Committee stated that the Preventive Security Services of the Palestinian Authorities in the occupied West Bank arrested the radio presenter of the "Merah" radio station in Hebron, Mohammed Saeed Abu Jahisha. And during the same month, the Preventive Security Service summoned Musaab Shawar and interrogated him for hours.

The Committee said that the security services recently escalated the summoning and investigation of journalists and activists against the background of their publications on Facebook, and pointed out that the charges attributed by the security services to journalists are "foreign to our reality and denied and rejected".

The Committee indicated that the security services in the occupied West Bank have arrested, detained and summoned more than 29 journalists for political reasons, according to the Committee in its 2018 semi-annual report.

It also indicated that the semi-annual report recorded 10 cases of extended and postponed detention of journalists in the occupied West Bank, in addition to the transfer of Journalist Tarik Abu Zeid's case to the Criminal Court, along with 14 cases of threatening, incitement, and dismissal.

The committee called on the Palestinian Authorities' security services to cease its summoning and arrests of journalists without any legal justification, calling for respect of freedoms and allowing journalists and media professionals to disseminate information and to expose the violations committed by the occupation against the Palestinian people in the West Bank.

The Committee stressed that civil society organizations have an important and strategic role to play in supporting journalists as well as the media outlets by highlighting the cases of journalists detained by the Authority. Stating that "We have always been talking about one side that targets the media, the Israeli occupation, today both sides are guilty in the arrest process, and this is unacceptable. We will go to the human rights institutions and appeal to those who embrace these freedoms to strive for the release of the detained journalists."

Lastly, the Committee expressed its hope that the judicial authorities will have "sufficient independence to speak the word of truth and to release the journalists and to lift the power of the executive authority, which appears to be a repressive tool targeting the Palestinian people in all their titles and levels."

Journalist Support Committee - Palestine
23 July 2018