Palestinian journalists rally, urge UN to protect them

 Palestinian journalists rally, urge UN to protect them

Palestinian media rally for protection after assaults by police

RAMALLAH, 29 June: Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied outside a United Nations(UN) building in Ramallah on Monday to demand press freedom following violent clashes with Palestinian security forces sparked by an activist’s death in custody.

Nizar Banat, a 43-year-old from Hebron known for social media videos deploring alleged corruption within the Palestinian Authority (PA), died last week shortly after security forces stormed his home and violently arrested him, his family said.

Days of clashes between protesters and police have left several journalists injured.

Reporters Without Borders said on Monday that 12 Palestine journalists, including five women, had been assaulted by Palestinian police during weekend unrest in the occupied West Bank.

Naila Khalil, a reporter with The New Arab media outlet, said Palestine reporters had submitted a letter to the UN urging the world body “to take necessary and immediate measures” to protect media freedom.

Mohammed Gharafi of the Ultra Palestine news site said he had been harassed by Palestine security forces who threatened to confiscate his phone if he did not stop filming the protests.

Separately, human rights groups in Ramallah announced on Monday the formation of a legal team to follow up on the attacks on journalists.

In a press conference, the director general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Ammar al-Dwaik said several human rights organisations have taken testimonies from male and female journalists who were attacked while covering the demonstrations in Ramallah during the past few days.

“Journalists were deliberately targeted – especially women journalists in the field – through assault, hijacking of cameras, or theft of communication devices,” al-Dwaik said.

He described the events as “very worrying” and ones that prevent journalists from fulfilling their role.

Violent assault

On Sunday, a number of journalists cut up their press cards in protest at the syndicate’s silence regarding the attacks against them.

Translation: There’s no reason for it. There’s no use in continuing to be part of a syndicate that does not protect its journalists.

Web Desk

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