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Minister of Information condemns Israeli closure of Hebron radio stations

Aug. 21, 2008 7:45 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2008 7:45 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - The closure of three radio stations in Hebron on Wednesday is an example of Israeli actions undermining the efforts of the Palestinian government, said Minister of Information Riad Al-Maliki.

Soldiers stormed the offices of three radio stations Wednesday and took essential broadcasting equipment, then locked the offices.

Dr Al-Malki called the invasions the latest show of Israel scoffing at the idea of negotiations and an independent Palestinian state.

Al-Maliki said that the actions made it clear that Israel does not support local initiatives, saying that the radio stations were started by private citizens and businesses. The radio stations were examples of functioning organizations in areas that are safe and secure, Al-Maliki continued, and Israel stormed them, provoking anger from local residents.

Without freedom of the media and the ability to communicate with local residents Al-Maliki said that the local government will be less able to maintain law and order. He also stressed that the local government had worked for al long time towards ensuring that all media were registered and that legal formalities were taken care of.

Since the Ministry of information had okayed the radio stations in Hebron that were shut down Thursday, Israeli forces are thus undermining them and making security and law and order more of an issue than necessary.

Al-Maliki said that he was committed to stopping such actions, and would send out word of the Israeli violations to Arab and International organizations.

He concluded saying that the world is investing in opportunities to strengthen Palestinian media and ensure freedom of the press, and that all these efforts are being undermined by unjustified acts of Israeli aggression.

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