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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Gazan journalists blocked from social media for reporting Israeli violations

Source The New Arab
Tuesday , 06 September 2022

Tens of Palestinian journalists, activists and writers have been pushed off social media or had their posts censored for covering Israel's August bombardment of the Gaza strip, in shocking new revelations. 

Facebook, TikTok and Whatsapp have all been accused of closing the accounts of Gazans reporting civilian deaths by Lebanese press freedom organisation SKeyes

"I posted a number of photos detailing the civilians killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on 17 August," said freelance journalist Omar Abu Nada to SKeyes

"They then accused me of breaching their publishing standards. This also happened on TikTok, after I published videos of the deceased - and for the same reason," he continued. 

"But the real reason is clear: it's about cleansing their platforms of Palestinian content," concluded Abu Nada. 

Abdulhamid al-Ati, broadcaster at al-Watan, was also among those targeted. 

"My first warning came when I published the photo of Adam Nabulsi, who was killed by occupying forces. I was suspended from posting or commenting for 30 days while my posts were reviewed," said al-Ati.

WhatsApp completely closed al-Ati's account indefinitely on 28th August.

"I believe that the closure of my WhatsApp account is about stopping me publishing my journalistic work," he said. 

This is not the first time Palestinian journalists have been pushed out of global social media platforms for reporting Israeli violations against Palestinians. 

In May 2021, during Israel's war on Gaza, dozens of WhatsApp accounts of Palestinian journalists were reportedly blocked.

The vice president of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Tahseen al-Astall, told AFP at the time that "around 100 journalists" in Gaza had seen their accounts blocked by the Facebook-owned platform.

7amleh - The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media - said it had documented 500 cases in which Palestinian "digital rights" had been violated between 6-19 May, during Israel's repeated attacks.

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