The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issues a press release calling on the Hamas-run Ministry of Information to void its decision which banned the conference of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). 57071
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issues a press release calling on the Hamas-run Ministry of Information to void its decision which banned the conference of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The two-day conference is intended to discuss Journalism ethics and to determine the standards of media in the Palestinian territories.
As the conference started in the West Bank, the organizers were unable to link with their colleagues via videoconference due to the decision of the Hamas-run ministry.
Journalist Mohammad Zarour, coordinator of the International Federation of Journalists, informed the Mezan Center that the Ministry of Information told the supervisors of the conference that it did not authorize the conference, and that it should be halted immediately.
The conference lasts for two days and was supposed to be simultaneously held in Gaza and in the West Bank using videoconference technology. It was eventually kicked off in the West Bank without Gaza.
The Al Mezan Center said that the decision of the Hamas-run Ministry of Information in Gaza is a direct violation to the freedom of press and expression.
The center added that the organizers did not need to inform the ministry or obtain any permit from it, especially since the Palestinian Law of Public Gatherings, Article 12/1998, states that a permit is not required as long as the event is held in a conference room.
The Al Mezan further stated that the law also says that the organizers of any conference need to inform the police by a written statement at least 48 hours before the scheduled time. Should the police fail to respond, the conference or activity is to be held as planned.
But the Ministry of Information claims that this conference is considered international, and that activities by international bodies should be coordinated with the relevant authorities.
Article number 26 of the Modified Basic Palestinian law states that ‘the residents have the right to freely hold conferences, peaceful gatherings and processions, and that restrictions are not allowed as long as the event does not violate other regulations.
The Al Mezan Center demanded an investigation into the issue, especially since it constitutes a violation to public freedom and the freedom of expression.