Palestinian and foreigners journalists working in the Palestinian National Authority areas ( PA) Celebrated on Thursday may 3ed, the World Press freedom Day in the most difficult working conditions of insecurity and the lace of personal safety of journalists in the light of the increasing incidents of kidnapping and assault. The PA Areas have witnessed since the beginning of 2006 marked increase in the number of incidents of abuse and attacks on journalists and media outlets both local and foreign carried out by unknown individuals and armed groups, that is affiliated with political organizations.
Palestinian Journalists Union reported that the union documented, since early last year, 29 assaults; some targeted professional organizations such as the offices of Arab satellite channels, and others targeted Palestinian media. Also the union reported that the number of journalists who have been abducted by armed groups, since 2006 is 7 journalists and workers in local media and foreign media organizations, in addition to 5 abduction cases in 2005.
The mentioned kidnappings ended by the release of all abductees, with the exception of British journalist Allan Johnston, who was abducted on March 12, 2007. Palestinian authorities have been unable to secure his released so far even though the authorities know the identity of the kidnappers as reported by several Palestinian officials. Moreover the Palestinian authorities did not take any legal action against any of the individuals or groups that was involved in kidnapping and assault crimes, despite previous knowledge of the identity of those groups or individuals in many cases. On the contrary, they sought to negotiate the kidnappers instead of pursuing them.
The journalists union considers the increasing incidents of kidnappings and attacks against journalists working in the Palestinian National Authority areas very serious and effects directly the freedom of press. The union Also consider the reaction of the Palestinian security bodies very dangerous to incidents such kidnapping and assaulting journalists, and believes that the actions taken by the Palestinian security forces-which holds the responsibility of the security and safety of civilians – does not rise to the required level to protect journalists, but in most of the time it seems that its unable to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.
Because of that the union calls the relevant security authorities to take necessary measures to maintain security and safety of journalists working in areas of the Palestinian National Authority. , Through the following:
1. The Palestinian National Authority (PA) security forces should work immediately to secure the release of the kidnapped British journalist Allan Johnston, and take full responsibility for his safety.
2. Since the identity of the hijackers is known the PA should uncover the circumstances that have so far prevented the release of Johnston.
3. The PA should prosecute all perpetrators of assaults and kidnapping crimes which targeted journalists and media institutions, and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
4. Palestinian Authority PA should publish the investigations results conducted its security forces regarding the incidents involving attacks on journalists and media institutions in the Palestinian areas.
5. the Palestinian security forces must provide security and protection for journalists and media institutions operating in the Palestinian areas.