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Friday, May 04, 2012

Hamas cynically celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh held a ceremony yesterday to celebrate World Press Freedom Day.

Hamas routinely attacks Gaza journalists and who disagree with its policies. Right now, there is no freedom of the press in Gaza and reporters self-censor out of fear for their lives. They have beaten journalists who try to cover anti-Hamas demonstrations, they have banned Fatah newspapers from Gaza, and they have even attacked documentary filmmakers.

Haniyeh cynically praised the journalists who follow Hamas' propaganda goals, saying that Palestinian Arab journalists are "in the trenches" in the battle with Israel.

Journalists who spoke at the event were naturally careful to blame all their problems on the "occupation."

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, activists protested against the US Consulate holding an event in Ramallah to celebrate World Press Freedom Day. Palestinian Arab journalist unions demanded their members boycott the event. Because, after all, that's what press freedom is all about in the territories. (PalPress claims that the entire event was foiled because of the protests; however Ma'an quotes the Consul General as speaking at the event to at least some journalists.)

(h/t CHA)