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Friday, September 07, 2007

Freedom of the press, PalArab style (XI)

More details on this morning's festivities specifically concerning journalists who tried to cover the Fatah protest rallies:

Across Gaza, seven journalists covering the clashes were beaten and two of them were later detained, witnesses and reporters said. Two Associated Press staffers and another news photographer were also briefly detained by Hamas men.

In Jebaliya, the Hamas security men ordered journalists to stop filming and move away.

One security officer told reporters, "If a single shot is on TV, you know what will happen." He then drew his finger across his throat. At one point a Hamas security man tried to take a photographer's camera.

"I identified myself as a journalist and showed him my card, my journalist card, I told him, 'If you want the tape take the tape, I don't care,' but they kept on beating me and took the camera," Muhammad Abu Sido, a cameraman for a Palestinian news service, told AP Television News.

Similar incidents of harassment against journalists took place during previous weeks' Fatah protests.

Taher Nunu, a Hamas government spokesman in charge of coordinating media coverage, said the reports of harassment of journalists "were individual cases and won't be repeated," and that he was working to free the detained reporters.