Israeli Army Shuts Down Broadcasters in Ramallah

Palestinian Television Channel Watan Shuts Down by Israeli Army

IFJ Voices Concerns over Media Freedom after Israeli Army Shuts Down Broadcasters in Ramallah

The Israeli authorities must ensure that equipment seized by its soldiers when they raided two Palestinian television channels on Wednesday is returned, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)  said today. 

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The IFJ has expressed its serious concerns about reports that Israeli forces have confiscated material from Watan TV and Alquds Educational TV in Ramallah on Wednesday morning.

The IFJ affiliate in Palestine, The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), has reported that a group of 40 Israeli soldiers entered the offices of the broadcasters in Ramallah on Wednesday morning and confiscated the transmitter from Watan TV and all their computers. They also took away the transmitter from Alquds Educational TV and other equipment.

“This action raises real concerns about freedom of expression in Palestine. It effectively shuts down these two TV stations, robbing people of access to the information provided by both broadcasters,” said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “We urge the Defence Ministry authorities to order the return of the material which has been seized.”

The PJS has condemned the action, describing it as a “clear violation of international instruments guaranteeing media freedom and an illustration of the arbitrary nature of the policies of occupation which allow security forces to target Palestinian media and journalists.”

The syndicate, which also called for the return of the seized equipment, said that in the past, the Israeli army confiscated transmitters from TV and radio stations in different cities in the West Bank, on account of their alleged interference with communications in Israeli settlements or  airports. 

The IFJ appeals to Israeli military command to ensure that their soldiers deployed in the Occupied Territories afford Palestinian journalists the respect enjoyed by their Israeli counterparts.

“The confiscation of equipment in this way not only shuts down these media outlets, but it can also have an intimidating effect on other media,” added Costa. “The Israeli authorities must ensure that Palestinian journalists are free to get on with their work of informing the public.” 

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