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Group 'concerned' about Palestine media violations

Aug. 20, 2013 3:06 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 22, 2013 10:31 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian journalists rights group on Monday expressed concern that unrest in Egypt has had an adverse effect on press freedom in Palestine.

"The repercussions of these events must not be used as an excuse for any Palestinian to gag the press, and we must all remember that freedom of expression is a basic right for all journalists and citizens," Mousa Rimawi, the general director of MADA, said.

Rimawi cited the closure of the Gaza bureaus of Ma'an News Agency and Al-Arabiya and a demonstration outside of Ma'an's office.

The press group also said that Fatah leader in Gaza Yahya Rabah had been threatened with arrest for posting comments on his Facebook page.

In the West Bank, Mada said that PA security forces had suppressed a protest organized to demonstrate against the Egyptian army's crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

"Palestinian journalists were prevented from covering the protest in the Hebron city south of West Bank and were insulted verbally," he said.

"This escalation will lead to a serious deterioration of public freedoms in Palestine and will lead to enhancing self-censorship, where journalists and citizens will fear to express their opinions freely, whether through traditional media, blogs, or social networks," he added.

Ma'an's Gaza bureau has been closed since July 25.

The attorney-general in the Hamas-run government ordered the closure after Hamas officials accused Ma'an of deliberately publishing "false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza."
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