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MADA launches campaign to 'reduce self-censorship' among Palestinian journalists

Sept. 21, 2017 5:01 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 7, 2017 9:26 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has launched two campaigns to reduce self-censorship by journalists, the group announced on Wednesday.

The campaigns were launched on social media platforms and on Ma’an TV. MADA’s General Director Mousa Rimawi explained that the campaigns aim to “raise awareness of the dangers of self-censorship on the freedom of expression, and thus on the development of Palestinian media and society.”

Rimawi said that MADA hopes to encourage journalists and activists to “get rid of self-censorship, or at least to limit it,” highlighting that self-censorship among Palestinian journalists has reached up to 80% according to a MADA study, “and is expected to increase after the adoption of the Cyber Crimes Law.

The decree, issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 24, has been described by rights groups as “draconian” and “the worst law in the PA’s history,” for imposing jail time, hard labor, and fines for creating, publishing, and sharing information deemed dangerous by the PA.

Rimawi stressed the necessity of “freezing” the law, pointing out the numerous violations of journalistic freedoms by the PA in recent months, including “the extensive campaign to suppress journalists during Al-Aqsa events by the occupation security services last July, as well as the blocking of more than 29 news sites in June in the West Bank, and the arrests of journalists during the past two months by the Palestinian security services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

Earlier this year, MADA released a report showing records of a total of 383 violations against the media in Palestine during 2016, representing a significant decrease from 2015 which saw at least 599 violations of media freedoms in the Palestinian territory.

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