MADA : 562 Violations of Media Freedom in Palestine During 2021

Soldiers attack journalists (image by al-Anadolu)

Ramallah – March, 10th, 2022– The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom “MADA” issued its annual report about the media freedom in West Bank (Including occupied Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip during 2021, which witnessed an increase compared to the previous year, especially the Israeli violations.

The year 2021 witnessed a total of 562 violations against media freedoms in Palestine, 368 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation, the most serious of these was the killing of journalist Youssef Abu Hussein, media graduates Abd al-Hamid al-Kolak and Muhammad Shaheen in Gaza Strip, meanwhile Palestinian sides committed 123 violations, while social media networks committed 69 violations, and other parties committed 2 violations. This increase in the number of violations constitute 137% of the violations compared to the previous year.

MADA said in its report, that this noticeable increase in the number of violations is due to two main factors, which are: a significant decrease in the precautionary measures accompanying the spread of the Corona virus in the Palestinian territories, which were made as part of efforts to combat the epidemic during the year 2020, and the increase in political activities and events Where the journalists who covered it were subjected to violations.

The attacks committed against journalists included a total of 356 journalists, including 281 male and 75 female journalists, and 32 media outlets employing dozens of male and female journalists, some journalists were subjected to more than one violation.

The increase in the number of documented violations is mainly due to the rise in the number of Israeli attacks, which is primarily responsible for the attacks that occurred in 66% of the total violations of the year, and was carried out through 14 types of violations, of which physical attacks occupied the largest number.

In general, this rise is mainly due to the attacks on journalists during their coverage of the activities in Jerusalem and other cities in West Bank in support of the people of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against the israeli attempts to evict them from their homes, in addition to the attacks and incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which lasted for 11 days, had the greatest impact on the increase in the number of violations, as the army forces killed a journalist and media graduates, wounded at least 54 journalists, and destroyed at least 30 headquarters of local, Arab and international media outlets.

As in the past years, most of the Israeli attacks were the dangerous types on media freedoms and the lives of journalists, especially the physical attacks, which were 155 attacks, and constitute 42% of the total Israeli attacks, noting that 133 of them are injuries with live, rubber, metal bullets, and tear gas bombs.

Last year saw a significant increase in the number of Palestinian violations, which is (22%) of the violations in West Bank, this increase constitute 27 points over the number of Palestinian violations committed during the year of 2020, at a rate of (128%). This rise indicates the continuation of negative indicators regarding respect of media freedoms in West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the reasons for the rise, is the attacks against journalists who covered the rallies and demonstrations in protest of the murder of activist Nizar Banat by Palestinian security services, MADA documented a total of 69 violations against media freedoms in West Bank during June.

The report also revealed a decrease in the number of Palestinian violations committed by the security services in Gaza Strip during the year 2021 by about 80%, it decreased from 59 to 12 violations due to the lack of “sensitive” activities, and the smaller number of journalists and media outlets in Gaza Strip.

Despite the decrease in the number of violations committed by social media companies during the year 2021, this decrease is not due to a change in the policy of social networks, which continued to block Palestinian content through blocking or closing a lot of activists and citizens sites, but rather due to journalists and media outlets self-censorship. Violations of Facebook is the largest among the rest of the social media networks with a total of 41 violations, which constitute 59% of networks violations.

MADA Center demands respect of freedom of the press in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as an end to all violations of press freedoms, an end to the immunity enjoyed by the aggressors and the punishment of those responsible, especially the murders of journalists.

It also calls on social media platforms, especially Meta, to stop their attempts to block Palestinian content, and to change their algorithms related to the Palestinian situation, which guarantees freedom of expression.

MADA Center demands respect for the freedom of media in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as an end to all violations of media freedoms, an end to the immunity by the aggressors and the punishment of those responsible, especially the crimes of killing the journalists.

It also calls on social media platforms, especially Meta, to stop their attempts to block Palestinian content, and to change their algorithms related to the Palestinian situation, which guarantees freedom of expression.

Full report here.

(Source / 11.03.2022)

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