Freedom of Speech Under Attack by Palestinian Authority

ICEJ News, 24 May 2012

Despite previous promises to uphold freedom of speech, the Palestinian Authority has recently arrested or interrogated almost a dozen journalists and bloggers in addition to blocking Palestinian news websites critical of President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian General Intelligence Service detained Shadi Zamara, a young journalist and blogger.

"The interrogation focused mainly on articles I had published and [those] which included criticism of the Palestinian Authority," Zamara told SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom.

Meanwhile, in a recent poll of 1,200 Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank conducted by AWRAD, the independent Ramallah-based research center, 88% believe the recent arrests of journalists and bloggers is unjustified, 60% of Gaza and 27% of West Bank pollsters believe freedom of speech has declined over the last 10 years, about 80% said both the PA and Hamas censor freedom of expression, and 84% are in favor of holding immediate elections.

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