Monday, November 20, 2017

Israeli forces shut down ten Palestinian media offices on incitement allegations


By Rhiannon F. - October 20, 2017
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Freedom of Speech ] [raids] [Ramallah] [Nablus] [Hebron] [Bethlehem]

Israeli forces have raided and shut down three media companies and their branches across Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem.

At 2am on October 18, Israeli army soldiers simultaneously stormed a total of 10 offices of Pal Media, Trans Media and Ramsat.

The Director of Trans Media in Hebron Amer Al-Ja’bari, and the managing director of the same company, Ibrahim Al-Ja’bari were both arrested.

After ransacking the offices, the forces confiscated all of the organisations' equipment and closed off the entrances to the buildings with metal sheeting.

The equipment seized by the army is used for television work, including cameras, editing, lighting and audio equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Military orders were hung on the metal panels declaring the media outlets had been shut for six months on allegations of inciting terrorism.

Trans Media financial manager, Ibrahim Bishara Alhusari told Palestine Monitor this had been the third time the organisation had been raided.

“We continued working last time because there is no reason for them to close Transmedia,” Alhusari said in a phone interview.

“We don’t have any equipment to work now. We give services for satellite TV, so this is a big issue.”

Trans Media provide services for Palestine Today, TRT Turkish Arabic and English, AlGhad Al Arabi, the Arab channel, Orient, as well as European channels such as the BBC.

Pal Media also provides content to several channels including Alquds, Russia Today, Al-Mayadeen, Almanar and stations in Syria.

In total, 94 journalists and employees are working across the organisations shut down on Wednesday.

Trans Media alone has 40 employees in the company. “This means 40 families relying on these salaries for their homes,” Alhusari continued.

“We don’t have any money if we don’t work. My main problem is it’s going to affect my family, very badly,” Alhusari said sadly, contemplating the six-month closure of Trans Media.

Talking only one day after the raid, Alhusari has no bearing on what the plan will be from now.

For those who are arrested, the organisations along with lawyers and the Red Cross are trying to find their locations.

“We don’t have any news from him, to know why he is in jail. We can’t see any legal reasons to arrest him,” Alhusari talks of Trans Media director Amer Al-Ja’bari.

The Palestine Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) see the raids and closure of media organisations as “drastic violations ... of media freedoms in Palestine,” as stated in a press release.

They believe Israel have executed a new “harsh blow” in an “attempt to exile and silence the Palestinian media through shutting it down, incurring it huge loses and prosecute it under the allegation and pretext of incitement.”

MADA are calling on all international media and human rights organisations to hold the Israeli authorities accountable and pressure them to reopen the media outlets in Palestine and repair all losses.  

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