Palestinian journalists living and working under the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip continue to face huge challenges that make it almost impossible for them to operate free of pressure and intimidation.
Hardly a week passes without a report about a Palestinian journalist complaining about harassment by the PA or Hamas. This harassment takes many shapes, such as being summoned for interrogation, detention and verbal abuse.
The latest victim of this campaign of intimidation is Mohammed Abu Jhaisheh, a Palestinian journalist from Hebron in the West Bank, who received a summons to report for interrogation from the PA security forces in the city. Abu Jhaisheh, who hosts a radio show on a private radio station in Hebron, has announced his refusal to report for interrogation — a move that is being hailed by some of his colleagues as “courageous.”
The Forum of Palestinian Journalists, a group that defends the rights of Palestinian journalists, strongly condemned the decision to summon Abu Jhaisheh for interrogation and called on the Palestinian Authority to halt its violations against the media. The forum called on the PA security forces to assume their role in “defending and safeguarding” public freedoms in Palestinian society and commended Abu Jhaisheh for his decision not to report for interrogation. It also warned that suppression of freedoms leads to “negative phenomena” among the Palestinians.