The Palestinian Authority has blocked 59 Palestinian and Arabic-language news websites and social media pages.
The Ramallah magistrateâs court issued the order on 17 October at the request of the PA attorney general, Akram Ismail Khatib, but it was not reported until Monday.
The law wasÂ decreedÂ by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2017, and was met with strong Palestinian rejection.
Social media users expressed outrage using the hashtag âblocking is a crime.â
AÂ listÂ of blocked websites includesÂ Arab48,Â Wattan TV,Â Shehab News Agency,Â Quds News Network,Â Gaza Now,Â MetrasÂ and others.
No Israeli websites have been blocked.
Palestinian political parties and journalist syndicates condemned the PAâs decision.
âThe Palestinian Authority is burying its head in the sand by trying to prevent freedom of expression and returning national media to the darkness that the Israeli occupation sought to return it to and couldnât,â Husam Badran, member of Palestinian resistance movementÂ Hamas,Â statedÂ on Monday.
âThe new ban can only mean that the Palestinian Authority and the occupation are fighting on the same side against Palestinian national expression and its exposure of the occupationâs violations, and of corruption and crime.â
The Committee to Support Journalists in Palestine alsoÂ condemnedÂ the PAâs âunjustâ decision and demanded it be reversed.
The Palestinian Youth Media GroupÂ calledÂ the ban a âmassacre of freedomâ that only serves âthe Israeli narrative.â
Prisoners solidarity groupÂ SamidounÂ said the ban revealed the PAâs âfear of a popular explosion against it similar to the Arab revolutions, the latest of which is Lebanon.â
Meanwhile, Facebook took down the page of the news website Palestinian Information Center on its platform earlier this month.
The publication said Facebook gave it no prior notice or justification.
The Arabic-language page had some five million followers,Â accordingÂ to its website.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)Â reportedÂ an increase in violations against media freedoms in September, mostly done by Facebook.
Facebook closed 34 Palestinian news pages and accounts of journalists based in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip that month claiming that they âviolate the rules of the Facebook community,â MADA reported.
~Electronic Intifada/Days of Palestine
Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)