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Press and Cultural Freedom Violations in the Levant-August 2019
September 10, 2019
 
A citizen journalist was injured as a result of Syrian regime air strikes on Idlib, while another was killed in the prison of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition at Palestinian journalists and photographers, injuring three in the Gaza Strip and one in the 1948 Territories, where they also beat one journalist, questioned another and broke into a cultural centre. Israeli soldiers also arrested two journalists and four photographers in the West Bank. They also prevented a media professional from filming before beating him and banned a journalist from travelling, knowing that the Palestinian security services had already questioned her twice. In Gaza, Hamas security beat a journalist, arrested a photographer, prevented two journalists from filming, and questioned a third one. The Lebanese intelligence arrested a journalist and the Criminal Investigation Department questioned a Syrian writer. Also, a theatre play was banned, an artwork was removed and a photographer was threatened because of a picture he published, while a journalist was smeared in Jordan because of an investigative report.
 
Below is a detailed summary of the violations monitored by the SKeyes Center in the four countries.
In Lebanon, the military intelligence arrested journalist Osama Al-Owaid for five hours while he was covering a protest in Terbol (08/08) and the Criminal Investigation Department questioned writer and lecturer Makram Rabah and Syrian civil rights activist Chadi Azzam in the complaint filed against them by the Lebanese General Security after they participated in a seminar where they criticized “the racism” that Syrian refugees encounter in Lebanon (08/22). Also, a restaurant in Bint Jbeil decided to cancel the Ktir Salbeh Show (08/11) and an art gallery in Jounieh removed an artwork from the window display under the pretext that it “offends the Christ” (08/14). Moreover, actress Marlene Aoun deleted a picture of her in a Druze traditional garb after she was threatened and insulted on social media (08/05) and photographer Jad Ghorayeb was victim of a similar campaign over a picture (08/04).
In Syria, citizen journalist Samer Al-Salloum was killed in HTS detention centre in Idlib (08/10). Also, citizen journalist Mahmoud Al-Hamawi was injured during the regime’s bombing of Idlib (08/10), while HTS arrested citizen journalists Mohammad Daaboul and Fateh Raslan in the same city (08/23) and stormed Majed Al-Amri’s apartment before confiscating his equipment in the Aleppo countryside (08/25).
In Jordan, journalist Sora Al-Domoor was strongly attacked by members of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association through Facebook comments and messages (08/22), after she published an investigative report in the Al-Ra’i newspaper about the dangers of the strike that the Association was intending to start early September, as well as its repercussions on students. The defamation campaign continued until the next morning.
In the Gaza Strip, journalist Osama Al-Kahlout, as well as photographers Hatem Omar (08/02) and Ali Jadallah (08/30) were injured by Israeli bullets.
Internally, Hamas security officers beat journalist Hani Abou Rizk inside the Al-Azhar University (08/21), questioned journalist Noha Abou Amro about her Facebook posts (08/01), prevented journalists Safinaz Alloh and Madeleine Al-Aqraa from covering the protests (08/22) and arrested Palestine TV correspondent, Mohammad Al-Arabid at his home (08/30). Also, the Ministry of Labour filed a complaint against journalist Mohammad Al-Khalidi and the Dunya Al-Watan newspaper because of an investigative report (08/07), while the former bureau chief of Al-Alam News filed a complaint against the Iranian channel over unpaid dues (08/29).
In the West Bank, the Israeli forces arrested journalist Mohammad Atiq for ten days and questioned him about his work (08/06), photographer Abdul-Mohsen Shalalda for unknown reasons (08/17), as well as journalist Geryes Azar and photographers Hisham Abou Chacra, Hamza Shalash and Motasem Saqf Al-Hit to prevent them from filming (08/23); the latter was also beaten and banned from covering the events a second time (08/27). Moreover, Israeli soldiers broke into journalist Raed Al-Sharif’s apartment in Hebron before searching it (08/05) and banned journalist Majdoline Hassouna from travelling to Jordan (08/18), knowing that the Palestinian security services had already questioned her twice at Al-Karama border crossing (08/06 and 08/18).
In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police continued its violations against media professionals. Photographer Soheib Salhab was injured after being hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the thigh, journalist Hassan Shaalan was beaten inside the Al-Aqsa mosque (08/10), journalist Mounir Al-Ghoul was questioned after a ceremony to pay tribute to an athlete was banned in Jerusalem (08/06). Also, the Israeli police raided the Yabous Cultural Centre and prevented the organizers from paying tribute to Jerusalemite writer Subhi Ghosheh because the ceremony is “under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority” (08/05). Finally, the Umm Al-Fahm municipality cancelled an artistic performance by Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar under the pretext that his songs “do not meet the religious, moral, educational and cultural standards of the city.”