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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - November 2022

Thursday , 22 December 2022

In Syria, Daesh militants murdered citizen journalist Atef Al-Saïdi in Daraa and the Hawar news agency correspondent, Issam Abdallah, was killed when the Turkish army bombed Qamishli. Also this month, settlers led several attacks against Palestinian journalists in the 1948 Territories, while the Israeli forces, the Palestinian security and the Hamas services were responsible for violations in Gaza.

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

In Lebanon, Free Patriotic Movement supporters destroyed the screens and external façades of the MTV channel headquarters, after a clash erupted inside one of the studios (11/03). Journalist Mariam Seif was the victim of a social media smear campaign after she published a photo showing a girl flipping the turban of a Shiite cleric on her Facebook page (11/05). Moreover, the Tripoli Investigation Department summoned Safir Al-Chamal website editor-in-chief Ghassan Rifi over an article about businessman Omar Harfouche (11/15). The Minister of Interior and Municipalities Bassam Mawlawi banned a conference tackling homosexuality, despite the State Council confirming the unlawfulness of such decision.

In Syria, citizen journalist Atef Al-Saadi was killed by Daesh in Daraa (11/05) and Hawar news agency correspondent Issam Abdallah by Turkish bombing in Qamishli (11/20). Sterk TV correspondent Mohammad Jarada was injured when the Turkish army shelled Aleppo’s countryside (11/20). The bodyguard of Ras Al-Ain’s local council president beat Kassioun agency reporter Abdul-Basset Al-Ahmad (11/29).

In Jordan, the Minister of Culture issued a decision to withdraw Qassem Tawfiq’s novel “Mira” from the market for compromising public decency (11/30). Furthermore, the Grand Criminal Court president decided to extend the gag order regarding the Jerash crime (11/29) while the English-language newspaper Jordan News suddenly decided to lay off all employees (11/29).

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces continued their violations against Palestinian journalists during the month of November 2022. Associated Press photographer Ihab Alami was hit by a rubber-coated bullet (11/29), while Jmedia correspondent Abdul-Mohsen Shalaldeh was arrested for four hours after being beaten (11/17). His colleague, correspondent Sabri Jibril, was arrested and questioned about his journalistic work (11/28). The latter was prevented from covering the storming of the Harmala town east of Bethlehem (11/24). The Israeli forces also banned Quds News Network photographer Abdallah Bahesh from entering the gate of Azzun east of Qalqilya (11/08).

Also in November, the Palestinian security arrested freelance journalist Ayman Qawariq on charges of weapon possession (11/28) and prevented journalists and photographers from covering a press conference in Ramallah (11/08). The Public Prosecution office in Bethlehem arrested Radio Bethlehem 2000 executive director George Kanawati over a slander and defamation complaint filed against him by the mayor (11/24). The intelligence service summoned photographer Jirah Khalaf who refused to comply with the decision (11/06).

Facebook shut down the page of the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and SKeyes correspondent in the West Bank, Naela Khalil, because of her articles (11/18) and the Radio Bethlehem 2000 page without warning or justification (11/08).

In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas services continued their violations against journalists. The Investigation Department questioned Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily journalist Hani Abu Rizk over an article (11/14), while the Internal Security arrested the Mayadeen executive director Fares Al-Ghoul before questioning him (11/30). The Champions club guards beat photographers Motasem Murtaja and Ali Jad (11/15) and Twitter blocked access to the Palestine Online English page for several hours (11/16).

In the 1948 Territories, settlers assaulted France 24 correspondent Layla Aoudeh and photographer Nader Bibars who were covering the blast in western Jerusalem (11/23). They also stormed into the room where a cultural seminar was held in Haifa and harassed the organisers (11/20). Dozens of settlers protested in front of the Saraya theatre in Jaffa where the movie “Farha” was projected, and Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to stop the government funding of the theatre (11/30). Finally, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the house arrest of journalist Lama Ghosha until December 24 under the pretext of “incitement on social media” (11/22).

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