donderdag 12 november 2009

PCHR veroordeelt Hamas besluit om Internationale Journalistenconferentie uit Gaza te weren

De Internationale Federatie van Journalisten staat zeker niet onsympathiek tegenover de Palestijnse zaak. De beslissing van de Hamas regering is dan ook zowel onjuist als dom.

PCHR - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release
Ref: 115/2009
Date: 10 November 2009
Time: 09:00 GMT

PCHR Condemns Gaza Government's Decision to Ban International Federation of Journalists Conference in Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Gaza Government's decision to ban a conference of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Gaza. The conference was due to be held on 9 and 10 November 2009, and linked to the West Bank meeting via video conference. PCHR stresses that this measure constitutes an assault against the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly ensured by the constitution.

The conference was titled "Declaration of Ethical Journalism Initiative and Standards of Media in Palestine", and Roots Tourist Restaurant was booked on 9 and 10 November 2009 to host the Gaza event.  However, on Sunday evening, 8 November 2009, the administration of the Roots Tourist Restaurant received a phone call from the Governmental Media Office, which banned the holding of the conference as the organizers did not obtain permission from official bodies.  Journalist Sakher Abu al-Oun, Board Member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, was requested via a phone call to report to the Governmental Media Office on the following day, 9 November.

On Monday morning, 9 November 2009, the participants went to the Roots Tourist Restaurant, but its administration apologized for not being able to receive them.  In response, at least 30 journalists organized a sit-in in front of the restaurant.  Journalist Skaher Abu al-Oun told PCHR that he went to the Governmental Media Office as requested, and there, he was informed that the holding of the IFJ's conference was banned on the pretext of a lack of necessary permission and coordination.

The IFJ had declared an ethical journalism initiative in Palestine during a conference held in February 2009 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, member of the IFJ, was a member of the consultative committee of the initiative.  However, as a result of problems arising from the ongoing political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate did not participate in the planned conference in its official capacity. Instead, the conference was to be attended by individual journalists.

PCHR denounces banning the holding of the IFJ's conference in Gaza and stresses the following:

1)      The measure taken by the Governmental Media Office violates Article 26(5) of the Amended Basic Law of 2003, which states that "Palestinians shall have the right to participate in political life, both individually and in groups.  They shall have the following rights in particular: .To conduct private meetings without the presence of police members, and to conduct public meetings, gatherings and processions, within the limits of the law."

2)      This conference and similar assemblies, workshops and symposia are private assemblies that do not fall under the scope of the Public Meetings Law #12 of 1998, which ensures the right of Palestinians to hold public meetings freely after submitting written notices to the governor or the police chief at least 48 hours before holding meetings.

3)      The Executive Bill of the Public Meetings Law issued by the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, in his capacity as Minister of Interior, contradicts with the word and spirit of the Public Meetings Law and the Amended Basic Law, and PCHR reiterates its call for abolishing or amending it to be in conformity with the law.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
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