Seven Palestinian journalists are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) continued crackdown on the media.
The repressive measures are aimed at silencing critical voices among the journalists and deterring others from reporting stories that reflect negatively on the Palestinian leadership in particular and Palestinians in general.
In the view of President Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Palestinian journalists exist to write stories slamming Israel or praising PA leaders. Media, for them, is defined as a mouthpiece for Abbas, the PA leadership and the Palestinian cause.
Any journalist who dares to think outside this checkpoint is subject to severe punishment. Under Abbas and the PA, there is no room for an independent media.
The three major Palestinian newspapers — Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda — are controlled, directly and indirectly, by the PA.
Although Al-Quds, the largest Palestinian daily, is privately owned and published in Jerusalem, it too serves as a mouthpiece for the PA. The newspaper’s publisher and editors know that if they publish any story that is critical of Abbas or the PA leaders, they will face punitive measures, such as banning the distribution of Al-Quds in PA-controlled territories. As such, the editors and journalists have long resorted to self-censorship. This forced silencing explains the absence, for example, of any news items about Palestinian corruption or human rights violations in Al-Quds and the two other newspapers.
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