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Report: PA warns media against reporting power struggle

Dec. 12, 2010 10:39 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2010 11:05 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Many Palestinian editors and journalists have been warned against making any public reference to the power struggle between President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah leader Muhamad Dahlan, an Israeli newspaper reported Sunday.

"One journalist who dared to report about the dispute was thrown into a prison in Bethlehem for five days," The Jerusalem Post reported. The journalist was not named, but it matched a recent arrest of a radio manager who was briefly detained on unclear charges.

According to some, the rivalry poses the biggest challenge to Abbas since he entered office in January 2005, the report said. It’s easier for Abbas to handle threats from Hamas than to deal with “dissidents” within his Fatah faction, it added.

Ma'an could not independently verify the report. Staff in Bethlehem said they were not contacted.

Last month, the PA closed the offices of a Ramallah satellite TV station affiliated with Dahlan, the once Fatah strongman who fled his native Gaza for the West Bank in 2007. The PA said the closure was related to registration and other legal procedures.

The PA says it upholds press freedoms, but press freedom groups point to arbitrary arrests of reporters whose views conflict with the party line. The Hamas-led government in Gaza City is considered hostile to local journalists, but foreigners face few problems.
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