PCHR Condemns Intervention of Gaza Government to Prevent of a Meeting Between Journalists from Gaza and International Federation of Journalists’ Delegation in RamallahThe Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the intervention of the government in Gaza to prevent a video conference meeting between journalists from Gaza and a delegation of the International Federation of Journalists in Ramallah on Wednesday, 15 September 2010.
Such intervention constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to journalistic work which are guaranteed under relevant international standards.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR and the testimony of Yusuf Sobhi al-Ostaz, member of the Secretariat General of the Journalists Union, which was elected last February , the Journalists Union invited a number of journalists in Gaza to meet a delegation of the International Federation of Journalists in Ramallah via the video conference technique at 09:00 on Wednesday, 15 September 2010, in a meeting hall at al-Azhar University .
However, at approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 14 September 2010, the administration of the university received a phone call from a person who introduced himself as a member of the Internal Security Service.
He informed them of preventing the meeting. As a result, the administration informed the meeting’s organizers of the prevention decision issued by the Internal Security Service.
The Palestinian Journalists Union had conducted new elections on 5 February 2010 to elect a new board for the Union . However, PCHR believed that it was impossible to hold just and transparent elections then, particularly, under the disputes that disturbed the Union, including problems related to membership and impacts of the internal fragmentation and political crisis on the Union .
PCHR condemns the government’s intervention to prevent the meeting between journalists from Gaza and the delegation of the International Federation of Journalists, and:
1) It is concerned over continued violations of the right to freedom of expression and press freedoms, and emphasizes the importance of providing journalists and media with the protection they need and to take all necessary measures to enable them to carry out their work freely;
2) Stresses that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is ensured under the Palestinian basic law and international human rights standards;
3) Calls upon Palestinian security services to respect the international human rights standards, the Palestinian basic law and the relevant laws; and
4) Hopes that transparent elections that represent all journalists will be organized as a first step to give the Palestinian Journalists Union the chance to play its role in representing and serving journalists and serving our national issues as an essential component of the Palestinian civil society.