The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has announced the kick off to its work on the first index on the freedom of the press in Palestine; it will be launched by the end of 2018, in the framework of its hard work to promote media freedom in Palestine.

This was announced via a round table which engaged journalists, human rights defenders and other experts in the field. The round table was held at MADA’s headquarter in Ramallah.

The meeting focused on the definition and significance of the index, and discussed the main themes and issues that the index will consist of, in order to be comprehensive, objective and accurate about the state of press freedom in Palestine.

The participants emphasized the importance of achieving a general index to measure the freedom of the press in Palestine, based on the specificity of the current Palestinian situation, and the periodicity of the publication of the index in the positive effect towards further entrenching media freedoms and assisting various stakeholders, including duty bearers in determining media policies.

On a different note, MADA center previously published a poll on freedom of the press in Palestine, earlier this year, noting that 91% of the journalists surveyed said that they were subjected to violations related to their work. 89% assured that legal measures prevented their access to information. This indicates a number of obstacles which hinder the media from operating.

Therefore, PNN reports, the launch of a general index to examine the dissemination of information and to ensure professional access to the public (the main task of the press), would give a more detailed and in-depth picture of press freedom in Palestine, to serve any basis for reform and development.

Finally, MADA center will publish the Freedom of the Press Index and update it regularly, aiming to contribute in increasing Palestinian opportunities to freely express their opinion and enjoy their right to access information, through a three- year project funded by the EU entitled, “a step forward towards enhancing freedom of expression in Palestine”.