The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), representing more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries, today accused Hamas security forces of harassing elected officials of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in Gaza. In a letter to Ismael Haniyeh, Prime Minister in the Hamas government, the IFJ President said that journalists’ leaders in Gaza have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and threats designed to force them to stop their union work. Some of them are now facing charges of illegal activities and a travel ban after they refused to give in to pressure.
Hamas and Palestinian Authority censorship of journalists is not new. Ironically, Palestinian journalists’ self-censorship is not new either. Recently, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in Ramallah threatened with expulsion from the Syndicate those Palestinian journalists who meet with Israeli colleagues. “We are opposed to such meetings because they are designed to achieve normalization with Israel,” said a senior member of the journalists syndicate in Ramallah. “Any member who meets with Israeli journalists will be fired.”