Gaza security forces released three Palestinian journalists on Wednesday, a day after they were detained for allegedly “spreading rumors.”
The Association of Democratic Journalists said that Nasser Abu Foul, Ahmad Qadih, and Hazem Madi were the latest victims in a spate of detentions targeting journalists in the besieged Gaza Strip over vague claims.
While the group called for fighting those who spread rumors amid the already difficult context in the blockaded Palestinian enclave -- which is ruled by the Hamas movement -- it called on all Palestinians, and particularly the journalists union, to resist violations of freedom of speech and the press.
The association called on both Israeli and Gaza security forces to stop detaining Palestinian journalists and activists.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documented a total of 48 violations of media freedoms by security forces in the Gaza Strip over the course of 2016.
According to MADA, 2016 also saw a continuation of Palestinian authorities “prosecuting journalists in relation to their publications on social media sites,” in both the Palestinian Authority-governed West Bank, as well as in Gaza. Multiple incidents of both security apparatuses inflicting “certain types of torture” against Palestinian journalists during their detentions were also recorded.
MADA has highlighted that while a lower number of violations were documented in Gaza compared to the occupied West Bank, the trend was owing to the limited number of journalists and media centers operating in the small Palestinian territory, rather than heightened media freedoms.
According to the group’s annual report, a major reason behind media violations in the Gaza Strip was the ongoing political division between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza.
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