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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is Hamas about to crack down on Ma'an News Agency?

Once upon a time. Ma'an News Agency tried to build for itself a niche as a professional, Western-style news outlet for Palestinian Arabs.

Then, after the Hamas takeover of Gaza, Ma'an started receiving threats from Hamas - and immediately it changed its coverage to stay away from anything negative about Hamas (unless Hamas denied a story from another source, in which case Ma'an would report the denial, but never the original story in context.)

Other Palestinian Arab journalists in Gaza were beaten and threatened not to report anything bad about Hamas, and for the most part, they obeyed.

Hamas kept a wary eye on Ma'an, occasionally paying "visits" to the agency to make sure that they were toeing the line.

That uneasy dance of Ma'an's self-censorship and Hamas' tolerance of the last Palestinian Arab media outlet in Gaza that was not explicitly pro-Hamas seems to have ended.

Palestine Times, a Hamas mouthpiece, just published an expose of sorts accusing Ma'an employees of Zionism,  belonging to Fatah, and of lying in stories about Hamas.

Just a guess, but I have a feeling that Ma'an's days in Gaza are numbered.