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IFJ Condemns Deportation Move against US Journalist in Israel

January 15, 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Israeli authorities to revoke the deportation order served on American journalist and chief English editor of Ma'an news agency, Jared Malsin, who has been held at Tel Aviv International airport since Tuesday after he was denied entry in the country.

"We condemn this intolerable violation of press freedom," said Aidan White. "The ban of entry in this case appears to be a reprisal measure for the journalist's independent reporting and that is unacceptable."

According to Ma'an news agency, a Palestinian independent media outfit, Jared was arrested At Tel Aviv as he was returning from vacation in Prague. He was reportedly questioned by security officials about articles he wrote critical of the Israeli government and was refused entry and detained at the airport. The agency says his deportation was scheduled for Thursday but was postponed following protests by American diplomats in Israel. A hearing into his challenge to the order is planned for Sunday.

Jared has worked for Ma'an news agency for the last two years, covering the West Bank where he had regular contacts with Israeli officials in the region, reports say.

The IFJ says the treatment meted out to Jared is unacceptable and suggests Israeli officials are seeking to control independent media and undermine impartial news reporting. The Federation criticised the ban on foreign media to Gaza before and during the last military offensive between December 2008 and mid January 2009.

"We do not know all the details of the charges against Jared Malsin," said a statement from the Jerusalem Association of Journalists (JAJ). "But we certainly and clearly support the right of all journalists to report freely from Israel, irrespective of whether the reporting is favourable or unfavourable to the state of Israel."

The JAJ warned against campaigns which have a political motive and " try to portray Israel as a state without media freedom."

The Association has also backed efforts to ensure Palestinian journalists enjoy the same levels of press freedom as Israeli journalists and others from around the world. "We are ready to work together with Palestinian journalists inside the framework of the IFJ to make sure that there will be no exceptions to the rights of journalists anywhere," they said.

"Journalists cannot be sworn to support governments in order to gain entry into countries," added White. "This kind of interference has no place in a democracy."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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