Als een krant iets schrijft wat je niet aanstaat dan eis je rectificatie, en wordt de 'fout' nog eens gemaakt dan arresteer je de hoofdredacteur en verhinder je verspreiding van de krant. Zo gaat het althans in Gaza, waar het volgens velen zo pragmatisch geworden Hamas aan de macht is. Ook buitenlandse journalisten zijn hieraan onderworpen.
Zou het kunnen dat een dergelijk repressief klimaat ook de berichtgeving vanuit Gaza beinvloedt? Je kunt immers de machthebbers beter een beetje te vriend houden in dergelijke omstandigheden. Het is in ieder geval opvallend hoe mild er door de meeste media over het Hamas bestuur in Gaza wordt geschreven, en hoe makkelijk men meegaat in de trend om Israël van alle problemen en ellende de schuld te geven.
De facto government to sue several media outlets for biased coverage
Date: 01 / 08 / 2008 Time: 17:03
Gaza - Ma'an - De facto government in Gaza will file a suit against Ma'an News Agency for what they describe as "mistakes" that the agency made when reporting on crimes committed by security forces in Gaza.
Dr Hassan Abu Hasheesh, head of the media office of the de facto government said on Friday that where Ma'an dealt "with the violations and crimes committed by the security forces in the West Bank as a campaign to restore order, it deals with the performance of the security forces in the Gaza Strip as clear violations of law."
During Abu Hasheesh elaborated on his complaints during a meeting of media representatives, saying that the de facto government's media office has "addressed Ma'an Agency more than once" regarding biased coverage. He said that "the agency expressed its apology and took out the fabricated news report or article [when asked] But repeated has the same mistakes" several times since. This, he said, is why the de facto government moved the whole issue to court. "There is no other way to intervene," he concluded.
The forum of Palestinian media representatives met with an official delegation representing the de facto government in Gaza to discuss a cessation of arrests of journalists after the bombing of the car of a Hamas representative on the beach in Gaza. The incident killed five Al-Qassam activists from the armed wing of Hamas, and one young girl.
Head of the media forum I'mad Al-Ifranji demanded the de facto government clarify the reasons behind the arrest of German TV photojournalist Sawwah Abu Sief, for breaking into the offices of the headquarter of WAFA News agency and for summoning Imad E'id, a journalist and head of Ma'an's Gaza office, to the general attorney for interrogation.
Al- Ifranji condemned the violations of freedom of speech that occurred over the past week, and encouraged the de facto government to abide by the rule of law.
Abu Hasheesh for the de facto government said that Abu Seif's arrest was unrelated to his work as a journalist, but noted that he had demanded the man's release from the de facto ministry of the interior. The ministry said that it would examine the issue, and in fact released Abu Seif on Friday.
Samir Hamtu, member of the media forum, demanded the de facto government stop barring deliveries of the three major newspapers, Al-Quds, Al- Ayam and Al- Haya, to the area. Friday was the third day that papers were not allowed into the area.
Abu Hasheesh said that the demands of the forum were legal but the government. He explained to the group that the government had found itself in a situation after the beach bombings where legal and security procedures were at loggerheads. He said that the government had to tackle the security issues first, and deal with legal boundaries second.
He stated in his speech that the de facto media office has been dealing with media organizations in a clear and positive way since the June 2007 Hamas take over in Gaza. He said that this should be commended since they have acted fairly despite pressures on the government in political and security realms, and the biased terms used by many media outlets.
He said that the media office has thus far refused to deal with media outlets as political or security issues, and preferred to deal with media infractions and abuses, such as "fabricated and untrue reports" through legal channels.
Abu Hasheesh gave a number of examples of the de facto government dealing with the media through legal channels, including WAFA's coverage of the 25 July bombing, two lawsuits that are currently underway against Al-Ayam and Hayat Al-Jadeedah, both Palestinian Arabic daily newspapers, in response to their biased coverage of the same incident.
He noted that the decisions to bar entry to the newspapers to close WAFA were issued by the de facto ministry of the interior. Abu Hasheesh said that these actions were justified by the reaction to the untrue stories, and their effect on the social fabric of Gaza. If the media outlets will not take responsibility for their actions, said Abu Hasheesh, than we must rein them in ourselves.