Ramallah –20/9/2017 The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) launched two media campaigns on social media and Maan TV to reduce self-censorship by journalists.
MADA’s General Director Mousa Rimawi explained that the campaigns aim at raising awareness of the dangers of self-censorship on the freedom of expression, And thus on the development of Palestinian media and society. Also to encourage journalists and activists to get rid of self-censorship, or at least to limit it.
Rimawi added that the practice of self-censorship by Palestinian journalists is very high, reaching up to 80% according to a study of the MADA Center, and is expected to increase after the adoption of the Cyber Crimes Law, where many journalists and activists were charged on the basis of article 20 of the law. Rimawi stressed the necessity of freezing this law in order to review the articles that contradict the Palestinian Basic Law and the international agreements signed by Palestine, which also affect the freedom of expression and privacy.
Rimawi pointed that one of the most important factors that increase the volume of self-censorship are violations against journalists, as we witnessed the extensive campaign to suppress journalists during Al-Aqsa events by the occupation security services last July. As well as the blocking of more than 29 news sites in June in the West Bank, and the arrests of journalists during the past two months by the Palestinian security services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
These two campaigns comes within two projects, one is funded by the Open Society foundation, the other is “Combating Self-censorship and Protecting Digital Rights in Palestine” which funded by the European Endowment for Democracy, where MADA Center also held three workshops in Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem on self-censorship, in which dozens of journalists who stressed the existence of self-censorship and practicing it on themselves, as a result of the policies of the media outlets they work for, the community or official authorities, which adversely affect their press and media work in terms of avoiding talking about certain topics which may be sensitive or even to express their opinion on social or political issues.