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Factions denounce Hamas closure of media offices in Gaza

July 26, 2013 12:32 P.M. (Updated: July 29, 2013 2:39 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions on Thursday condemned the closure by Hamas of media offices in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas' attorney-general on Thursday ordered the closure of the Gaza City bureaus of Al-Arabiya and Ma'an News Agency.

"The Attorney General decided to close down Al-Arabiya and Ma'an offices in Gaza for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt," a Hamas official told AFP.

The order was relayed to Ma'an's bureau chief in Gaza by officials from the Hamas Ministry of Information and security forces, who visited the office to complain about a report that Muslim Brotherhood officials had been smuggled into Gaza.

Fatah's culture and media commission said the closures violated Palestinians' right to information. It called on Arab media organizations and human rights groups to act against threats to the media.

The Palestinian National Initiative called on Hamas to reconsider its decision to close the offices and to respect the rights to expression and stop attacks against the media freedoms.

Meanwhile, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called on Hamas to reverse its decision. PFLP condemned "such violations against journalism and journalistic work" and described the closures as repressive.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for the reopening of the Ma'an and Al-Arabiya offices and said the closure orders violated the rights to expression and media freedom.

The Palestinian Peoples' Party also called for an end to attacks on freedoms and condemned the Hamas decision to close the bureaus.

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