IFJ Condemns Palestinian Authority Over Ban on Al-Jazeera
July 17, 2009
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Palestinian Authority to rescind its decision to close down the office the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television in the West Bank, saying the network was guilty of broadcasting "incitement and false information".
"This decision is a serious violation of press freedom," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. " It shows intolerance on the part of the Palestinian Authority and suggests that it is trying to control media by suppressing reporting which it does not like. The ban should be lifted immediately."
The Palestinian Authority yesterday ordered the office of Al-Jazeera to close down after allegations that the network, which is very popular in Palestine, was displaying bias against the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, who is also in charge of the Ministry of Information, has according to reports signed the order to close the office until the court decides on the case against Al Jazeera filed by the Ministry. The move against the network is believed to have been triggered by comments made by a senior member of the Fatah movement on the satellite channel about the alleged involvement of President Abbas in a plot to poison Yasser Arafat, former Chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
The IFJ says the use of the courts in a case like this will intimidate all media and the Authority should find other ways of challenging the comments that have been made.
"If the authorities want to counter these statements they should do so in a professional and transparent manner," said White. "Then journalists can report their position and provide the balance they say is needed."
The IFJ says public figures and political leaders must show tolerance of adverse reporting and respond to it in the context of continuing support for independent media and democratic pluralism. For more information contact
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 2207
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