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Journalists rally in Ramallah to reopen Gaza media offices

Oct. 20, 2013 10:15 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 22, 2013 9:48 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A group of journalists rallied in Ramallah on Sunday to launch a petition to reopen the Gaza bureaus of Ma'an News Agency and al-Arabiya.

The petition stated that the closure of the media offices violates Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which entitles the freedom of opinion, and Article 27, which allows anyone to operate a media outlet.

Rally leader Omar Nazzal said the petition aims to pressure Hamas to reopen the media offices, adding that the closures were a "slap in the face" for freedom of expression.

Nazzal called on intellectuals and writers to sign the petition.

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."

Ma'an Network announced in early October that it would stop working in the Gaza Strip as it seeks to recoup financial losses from the Hamas government's closure of its Gaza City office.

In a statement, Ma'an said that the Hamas government had seized control of its office and equipment in the weeks since the closure and it could therefore no longer justify paying expenses toward the operation.

The statement also reiterated "complete confidence in our colleagues in Gaza" and insisted it remained committed to its "administrative and financial commitments" toward them.
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