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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - October 2022

Wednesday , 16 November 2022
Design: Mahmoud Younis

More than 25 Palestinian journalists and photographers were victims of Israeli violations in the West Bank during the month of October 2022. The most tragic development happened in Syria where unknown people killed citizen journalist Mohammad Abdul-Latif Abu Ghannoum and his pregnant wife in Aleppo’s northern city of Al-Bab.

Below is a detailed summary of the violations monitored by the SKeyes Center the four countries it covers.

In Lebanon, unknown people opened fire on journalist Ahmad Moussa’s house in West Bekaa (10/18), while artist Mirna Maalouf was threatened after presenting her rainbow-painted sculptures (10/19), as well as journalist Mariam Majdoline Lahham over a report (10/20). Additionally, journalist Rami Naim was victim of a social media defamation campaign due to his political stances, critical of Hezbollah (10/24). The Criminal Investigations Division summoned journalist Nidal Al-Sabeh and questioned him over two tweets (10/03), while MP Gebran Bassil filed a complaint against journalist Youssef Diab and Al-Jadeed correspondent Rif Akil for “slander and defamation” (10/27).

Also in October, five French writers withdrew from a literary festival in Beirut in reaction to a campaign, opposed to the festival, launched by pro-Hezbollah groups online, including a tweet published by the Minister of Culture Mohammad Mortada in which he states that several writers participating in the cultural event are “promoting Zionist literature” (10/19). Moreover, Al-Jadeed decided to dismiss a large number of employees, including journalists, photographers and administrators under the pretext of “difficult financial conditions” (10/05).

In Syria, unknown people killed citizen journalist Mohammad Abdul-Latif Abu Ghannoum and his pregnant wife in Aleppo’s northern city of Al-Bab (10/07). A member of the National Army affiliated with Syria’s armed opposition also threatened to prevent citizen journalists Mohammad Al-Sibai, Siraj Al-Shami, and Qassem Habbar from filming and to destroy their equipment if they continue to film the teachers’ protests in the city (10/03). The Tahrir al-Sham group prevented citizen journalist Adnan Al-Imam from working in its regions for 15 days after he filmed a report for Orient channel (10/30), which it had previously banned from working in areas under its control (10/01).

In JordanAl-Ghad journalist, Shorouq Albaw appeared before the Public Prosecutor on October 11, for a cybercrime complaint filed against her by a Jordanian citizen – one of the first people to be contaminated with Covid-19 – after she mentioned his name in a report last March, knowing that his story was widely published in Jordanian media outlets.

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces attacked Quds Network photographer, Ahmad Aabed, AFP photographer, Jaafar Ashtieh, and Xinhua agency cameraman Nidal Shafiq Ashtieh with live bullets (10/08). They also fired rubber-coated bullets and gas canisters at Palestine Post correspondent, Saja Al-Alami (10/03 and 10/25), Jmedia correspondent Bilal Araman, Quds news agency photographer Moatasem Saqf Al-Heit (10/25), Associated Press photographer Majdi Ashtieh (10/13), Palestine TV correspondent Badr Abu Najm, photographer Salim Sawafteh (21/10), and the “Today’s file” TV show crew members (10/19), while broadcaster Moataz Sudai was injured in the chin. The Israeli forces also beat photographer Moatasem Saqf Al-Heit (10/20), as well as Jmedia correspondent Mohammad Thabet who was arrested for four hours (10/11). They also prevented the Al-Ghad satellite TV correspondent, Raed Al-Sharif, photographer Jamil Salhab, the Al-Arabiya channel correspondent Mosab Shawer, the Jmedia photographer Abdul-Mohsen Shalaldeh, the Xinhua agency photographer Ma’mun Wazzouz and the Quds Network correspondent Sari Jradat from covering the clashes in Al-Khalil. The Israeli soldiers hampered the work of European Pressphoto Agency photographer Abdul-Hafiz Al-Hashlamoun, Palestine TV correspondent Azmi Banat, director Jihad Al-Qawasmeh and photographer Mohammad Awawdeh, as well as Wafa agency photographer Mashhour Al-Wihwah (10/08). They also arrested Al-Irsal network and Sanad news agency correspondent Karim Khamayseh and Al-Jazeera Mubasher correspondent Mohammad Turkman for two hours (10/21). Furthermore, a group of settlers smashed the car of photographers Moaatasem Saqf Al-Heit and Mohammad Samreen (10/28), under the protection of Israeli soldiers, while Maan satellite channel was hacked by the Israeli authorities (10/08).

On the other hand, the Palestinian intelligence service arrested the Jmedia correspondents Mohammad Turkman and Hatem Hamdan without an explanation (10/30).

In the Gaza Strip, three brothers stormed into the house of journalist Ahmad Said to threaten him (10/29), while the Hamas police tried to arrest him two days later without any legal justification. Instagram shut down the account “Eye on Palestine” for several hours under the pretext of violating its terms (10/19).

In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police beat Nabad Al-Quds agency correspondent, Hiba Najdi and Al-Mayadeen channel photographer, Mohammad Asho, as well as Anadolu agency correspondent Moaz Khatib and the Roya TV correspondent Aya Khatib to prevent them from covering the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by settlers in Jerusalem (10/12).

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