PA steps up crackdown on journalists (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 04/01/12)
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The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank has stepped up
its crackdown on Palestinian journalists by arresting a female
journalist because of a comment she posted on Facebook.
Last Wednesday, PA security forces detained the journalist and
blogger, Ismat Abdel Khaleq, for criticizing the PA leadership and
calling for the dismantlement of the PA.
Over the weekend, she was remanded into custody for another 15 days
and is being held in solitary confinement, her colleagues told The
They said that Khaleq was taken into custody after the PA security
forces in the West Bank accused her of “slander and defamation.”
Khaleq is the fourth Palestinian journalist to be detained for
posting critical comments on Facebook over the past two years.
Several other Palestinian journalists have also been summoned for
questioning after criticizing the PA leadership on their Facebook
The three other journalists who were detained because of their
comments on Facebook are Rami Samara, who works for the PA’s official
news agency, Wafa; Mamdouh Hamamreh from Al-Quds TV; and George
Canawati, director of Bethlehem 2000 Radio.
The crackdown on Facebook users in the West Bank coincides with the
arrest last week of Palestinian journalist Youssef Al-Shayeb, who
works for the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad newspaper.
Shayeb was arrested for exposing corruption in the Palestinian
diplomatic mission in France. Last Thursday he went on a hunger
strike to protest his incarceration.
His arrest has sparked a wave of protests among Palestinian
journalists and human rights groups, who accused the PA government of
violating freedom of speech in the West Bank. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/01/12)
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