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Hamas government closes Ma'an, Al-Arabiya bureaus in Gaza
Published Thursday 25/07/2013 (updated) 05/08/2013 12:44
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A Hamas policeman sits at his laptop in Gaza City.
(AFP/Mohammed Abed, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The attorney-general in the Hamas-run government on Thursday ordered the closure of the Ma'an News Agency and Al-Arabiya TV bureaus in Gaza.

A Hamas official told AFP that the attorney-general closed Al-Arabiya's office "for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt."

"We received the closure notice and an official statement from Al-Arabiya will be published to respond to this decision," its Gaza correspondent, Islam Abd Al Kareem, told AFP.

The closure order from the attorney-general was delivered to Ma'an by officials from the Hamas-run Ministry of Information and security forces.

Ministry officials accompanied by security forces questioned the Gaza bureau chief in his office on Thursday over a report published on Ma'an's Arabic site that quoted information translated from a Hebrew news site.

The report said that six Muslim Brotherhood officials had smuggled themselves into Gaza to plan an uprising against the military in Cairo, after their Egyptian president was deposed.

A ministry official told Ma'an's bureau chief that the report was false.

"Ma'an News agency insists that the Gaza Strip is involved in the Egyptian crisis seeking to intensify the incitement in Egypt against the Strip," the ministry official said.

"Ma'an deliberately publishes false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza. It has become complicit with Egyptian media outlets in incitement against the Strip and making up lies to harm the image of Palestinian resistance," the official continued.

Commenting on the accusations, Ma'an's editor-in-chief Nasser Lahham said "some people in Gaza seemingly went mad after the Muslim Brotherhood rule was ousted in Egypt.

"They take any possible occasion to wage tough attacks against Ma'an News Agency for no reason. We have lodged official complaints to the office of the Gaza premier, to the former Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouthi, to the Ministry of Information and to the union of Palestinian journalists."

Lahham added that Ma'an would also complain about threats to its staff to the Union of Arab Journalists and to the International Federation of Journalists.

Addressing the Hamas government, Lahham said: "We challenge them to prove that Ma'an tells lies in its reports.

"We translate reports from other languages to serve our readers. When (Hamas) likes the translated reports because they contain criticism to the Palestinian president, to the Palestinian Authority or to the PLO, they quote Ma'an and publish the reports on their websites. But when the translated reports do not serve their interests, they go crazy and start wailing unjustifiably," he added.

"We will complain to the Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and to the Hamas bloc in parliament. We will never allow them or any others to continue to scare journalists simply because Gaza isn't a property they inherited from their ancestors. Gaza is a homeland for all and everybody should better learn how to behave and talk politely," Lahham said.

Responding to the closure, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah said all media outlets had the right to work freely without obstacles or harassment.

In a statement, the ministry said it viewed "with great concern the harassment by Hamas security services against journalists and media organizations in Gaza, and the incitement against the offices of Ma'an News Agency and al-Arabiya channel in Gaza."

Similarly, the West Bank-based union of Palestinian journalists denounced attacks on Ma'an and Al-Arabiya by both Hamas' officials and journalists affiliated to the Islamist movement.

The union said in a statement that direct and implied threats by Hamas leaders to journalists working for Ma'an and Al-Arabiya were part of "a gloomy campaign against media outlets which shape the public opinion and uncover the truth."

The union highlighted that any objective complaint against individual journalists or organizations should be made to the union, which would make a professional judgment on a news outlet's ethics.
1 ) Mel's Mom / USA
25/07/2013 18:05
Oh dear, oh dear, so much for the freedom of expression.

25/07/2013 18:14

3 ) ABE / USA
25/07/2013 18:25
Ahh Hamas Democracy at work! Religion and politics do NOT mix.

4 ) matt / usa
25/07/2013 18:30
While i am not a huge fan of MAAN, i do appreciate teh news they deiliver. hamas closing them down just shows how backwards and ridiculous hamas actually are

5 ) Robby / USA
25/07/2013 18:55
Ahhh, freedom of speech at it's finest!

6 ) EE / UK
25/07/2013 19:14
Great news! Freedom of speech and freedom of information finally got into Gaza! I am very glad for palestinians in Gaza and Hamas for that remarkable achievement.

7 ) Greg / UKR
25/07/2013 19:15
Freedom and democracy in Gaza is on display. Nice job, Hamas.

8 ) Serves you right / HA HA
25/07/2013 19:41
Closing down media is wrong & unnecessary but faux sensationalist reports is also inexcusable. The lifes of Gazans are at stake here & when Maan pedals the line with Abbas PA gang & liberals in Egypt about Hamas armed activities in Sinai, which inevitably leads to the closure of tunnels & Rafah, don't expect to come out of this unscathed.

9 ) Outlier / USA
25/07/2013 19:49
This is a decision Hamas will quickly reverse when it realizes it is getting NO coverage. Regarding its complaint, lines from "All the King's Men" come to mind. "You know why you never make up dirt about anyone...the truth is always sufficient."

10 ) ft / ....
25/07/2013 20:03
of all reasons.. fk hamas a. and the p.a.

11 ) Malone / Hfx
25/07/2013 20:19
...and the beat goes on...

12 ) Karen / UK
25/07/2013 20:34
Maan does provide unacceptable coverage of Gaza whilst stroking Mahmood Abbas's useless ego. I don't blame them Maan should be ashamed of yourselves all you are doing is Israels dirty work for them!

13 ) Maureen / Australia
25/07/2013 20:43
If the story is true then there must be a leaking source in Gaza/Hamas.

14 ) Don't preach democracy. / Lol
25/07/2013 20:51
Maan.is.a.redflag.news.site., you have to quote from others,unoriginal #7 Screw.the.freedom.mirage Democracy.is.a.kafir.state.structure.we don't have.gays.marrying.in.islam. We.do.not.abort.our.babies Alcohol.is.forbidden.in.islam. We.have.least.amount.of.broken.homes We don't.have.bastard.babies Our.mothers.dont.drink.and.dont.do.drugs We.believe.in.and.fear.ALLAH.

15 ) Jane / US
25/07/2013 21:18
Hamas and Gaza has put up with a lot of Maans unethical coverage and propaganda. It serves you right!

16 ) Ayman / west bank
25/07/2013 21:55
Maan is aspoke person of Oslo and pa

17 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 22:09
I have and always will (barring any change to the contrary) strongly support MNA (and Al-Arabiya, too, when I have a chance to go there) for its honest, truthful, highly accurate, unbiased, impartial, extensive, highly professional and overall excellent news reporting service. MNA is among the creme-de-la-creme of journalism and I have absolutely no reason to doubt this report. My only concern here is, when a report is published by republishing or deriving it from a foreign, original (cont.)

18 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 22:21
source (in this case, a Hebrew news source), esp. if it's in translation (which, in this case, it was ... from Hebrew to Arabic), great care must be taken to assure accuracy and the original news source should be mentioned so it can be independently checked. Normally, MNA does reveal its sister news sources (much to its credit). So, here, what was the Hebrew news source and was the translation to Arabic accurate ??? ... If it was, Hamas has crapped on itself; if not, someone needs to (cont.)

19 ) Kelly / Fr
25/07/2013 22:29
Hamas are so sexy. Mwah ;)

20 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 22:35
wipe the egg off his or her face. At this stage, I have every reason to believe MNA and MNA Editor-in-chief Nasser Lahham's assertions and to fault Hamas. (Attn: @ 15), Ma'an DOESN'T crap around with unethical coverage and propaganda. I should KNOW ... I'm an Israelite and Ma'an is Palestinian-based ... It has been given several, independent news-reporting awards for its HIGH standards of ethics and journalistic talents. I'm not kissing anyone's damn ass by saying so so REMEMBER (cont.)

21 ) ABE / USA
25/07/2013 22:43
#14 Your woman are 2nd class citizens they can not drive, they must be covered from head to toe. They can be killed for a perceived insult by a man. You have homosexuals but they are not free to live the life they desire. You kill each other in greater numbers then any other culture. Sunni and Shia both "fear" their God but they don't respect each other. You look at other cultures and judge harshly. You do not have freedom of speech, or Religion. Join the REAL world. People are DIFFERENT!

22 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 22:53
THAT.) I would think the crybabies and whiners at Hamas' Ministry of Information will eventually cool down, get their diapers changed, have someone feed them their bottles, get themselves burped to relieve their gas, be put to bed and wake up and allow MNA and Al-Arabiya to reopen.

23 ) shirleys / australai
25/07/2013 23:12
Maan should have the courage to stop peddling zionist western propaganda what is at stake is your ability to be independant news source that is not used as atool of Isreal and against palestinians this is not the first complaint maan nad of late many comments have been madeabout the news presented and source most of it promoting chaos if maan is in gaza it is able to do its own jounalsitic workand does not need to depend on Isreal the situation in gaza is very serious

24 ) Robby / USA
25/07/2013 23:21
12 ) Karen / UK - Interesting comments from someone that lives in the West, where freedom of press is protected. Would you be happy if the only press you read was from the British government?

25 ) shirleys / auastralia
25/07/2013 23:24
secondly AL ARIBIYA was forced on saudi arabia yrs ago by BUSH /US to counter al jazeera that was reporting the truth about Iraq and what was happening against US west propaganda and embedded journalists it was in the early yrsalmosrt anther CNN or fox news over the yrs it has become far more independant but uses alot of pro US articles and promotes western interests and life style rubbish movie starts etcand uses alot of westernstoogearab journalists that are wores than anyone for islam bashing

26 ) Johnny benson / USA
26/07/2013 00:03
Maan is a light ....a source of news and opinion not found in the whole of the islamic worldI ,it's very exsistance is a threat to corrupt and mindless leaders...lets only hope that the fatah people,can live with it...stay strong maan editors

27 ) Robert Haymond / Teko'a, Israel
26/07/2013 00:24
How much more biased propaganda on behalf of the Arab population of the Westbank and Gaza can Maan be expected to report? When it comes to Israel, for instance, only the Arab side of the news is reported, often leaving gaping holes, avoiding context with errors in its presentation. For instance, all editorials and opinion pieces are strongly slanted against an anti-Zionist perspective. Most of the fatous North American hate-Israel crowd which reads (sort of) the articles in Maan eat it up.

28 ) Robert Haymond / Teko'a, Israel
26/07/2013 00:33
Actually, come to think of it, this has the makings of a real comedy. Made me chuckle. Bring back Amira Haas, Jewish slef-hating journalist from Haaretz who resides in Ramallah to scribe the news.

29 ) Giacomo / USA
26/07/2013 00:36
So, the charge is that your enemies are deliberately disseminating unsubstantiated propoganda, conducting a war of misinformation, which is contrary to the best interests of your people, and only makes reconciliation and ultimately peace more difficult in the region. How's that feel?

30 ) Robert Haymond / Teko'a, Israel
26/07/2013 00:39
"Don't Preach Democracy" #14: You forgot to note that there are never, just never, any "honour" killings amongst the "honourable Arab citizens of Gaza, no unjust punishments meted out to Arab females, not ever, and no adult Arab man ever marries pre-pubescent Arab female children. Please add that to your post. Thanks. Wait, I need to laugh...and cry...thanks again!

31 ) Hetty / Netherlands
26/07/2013 01:11
WHY you quote information translated from a Hebrew news site? I noticed it myself a few times already and i wondered why you do this? And if you think it's really necessary i would like to hear/read the other side. Much to my unpleasant surprise it's often omitted.

32 ) southparkbear / usa
26/07/2013 01:26
i can understan hamas motives. after all, whatever shoul have been written,said,broadcast it's all in the book they call Q..they do not want to confuse gaza with news that A: not interesting, B: may conflict with news in the book

33 ) Maureen / Australia
26/07/2013 08:48
#14 What do you mean, "fear ALLAH?" Remember the golden rule - Love God, love your neighbour, and do not KILL? BTW, what is a "bastard baby?" -ere in Australia we have self made bastards, dirty bastards, rotton bastards stinking bastard, lousy bastard, judgemental bastard... babies are innocent!

26/07/2013 11:21
do com here to get their FIX! Don't Worry , MAAN,--all those detractors only attest to your QUALITY AND VALUE!!!!

35 ) Aisha / Maldives
26/07/2013 11:55
While I disagree that closing down Maan and Al-Arabiya's bureaus will he helpful, I believe that bashing Hamas at this point in the name democracy, especially by citizens of US or UK is just as unreasonable. Remember when Hamas was first elected into government by popular vote. How much respect did US and UK governments have for democracy then, when they imposed sanctions on the Palestinian people as a collective punishment for voting for whom they at the tome thought were the better choice?!

36 ) Sherezade / US
26/07/2013 13:16
How hypocritically funny of the Zionists on this talk back complaining about Hamas when your government keeps you bricked up by a wall whilst it illegally occupies a people and then puts up boards warning you not to enter the areas to see the brutal truth of Israel's barbarism. If there is ever a people that are deluded and live in a bubble it is YOU. Your government is no different you don't observe freedom of speech because the only narrative in Israel is your own fanatical lies!

37 ) Johnny benson / Usa
26/07/2013 13:20
@35..Aisha/Maldives...you are joking....what happened to that poor teen girl,who got 100 lashes for being raped by her relative?...what would happen if you were to become Christian.or buddihist or god forbid Jewish....dead...and you dare talk of democracy..you don't see Hamas holding anorher election,do you?...there was only one Muslim country that was a democracy,of sorts....turkey....now it's not...one election and out

38 ) Libra - scales of justice / United Kingdom
26/07/2013 15:26
Are you sure the Zionists are not behind this? Have they put the pressure on Hamas? They would love the Ma'an News Agency to close down. They the Zionists do not like being exposed to the world. If it is Hamas then they need to come into the 21st Century, Maan News Agency is an excellent way of reporting the atrocities that the Zionists do to the Palestinians. It was a way of letting the world know what goes on in Gaza. Its a sad sad day - let see Maan News Agency return 100% in the future.

39 ) Libra - scales of justice / United Kingdom
26/07/2013 15:44

40 ) faris / zurich
26/07/2013 16:09
how do you know the policeman is hamas?are west bank police fatah? and irgunistan police libermann supporters?

41 ) ABE / USA
26/07/2013 20:20
To #14, to #36, Bottom line, Living in a Western Democracy, I can say MY GOD SUCKS! can you in the Islamic world say that? I can draw a silly picture of any Prophet and not risk being killed. I can decide to change religion and not risk an Honor killing! FREEDOM of Thought and Will! FREDOM OF SPEECH! It is a wonderful thing. We do not shut down Newspapers just because we don't agree with their point of view. FREEDOM is not an ISLAMIc thing. Religion and Politics do NOT mix.

42 ) MM / Spain
26/07/2013 21:05
I think no media outlet should be closed, if any report is misleading it should be challenged in court. Having said that, I ask what others in these comments have done already: did you checked what you published? Why you need to quote Israeli media? You are talking about Egypt and Gaza, you can't come up with your own report with reliable first hand sources? Do you realize how much you are hurting Gazans if what you are publishing is a big fat lie?

43 ) fadi / .sy
29/07/2013 22:15
@40 .goodpoint
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