SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Gaza authorities ban Saudi-funded broadcasters over ‘fake news’ report

Thursday , 16 July 2020

On July 15, 2020, the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, banned the Saudi-funded news channels from working in Gaza, and banned local journalists from appearing on their broadcasts, according to news reports and reports from the local press groups the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and MADA.

The ban was issued in response to a July 12 news report published on both broadcaster’s websites, which operate as sister networks and often share reporting, alleging that a Hamas navy commander defected to Israel with internal Hamas documents.


In a statement, Hamas described the report as “fake news” and accused Al-Arabiya of disseminating lies from Israeli intelligence.


Adel al-Zanoun, the director of the Al-Arabiya office in the Gaza Strip, received a phone call from the Interior Ministry yesterday informing him that the Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath Gaza offices must be closed, that companies had been ordered to stop advertising with the channels, and that local journalists had been banned from appearing on the broadcasters, according to MADA.

Ziyad al-Halabi, director of the Al-Arabiya office in Jerusalem, told MADA that the outlet had reached out to Hamas leaders for comment on the alleged defection, but they refused to comment or to deny the report.

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