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RSF raised concern on Hamas strengthen control over Gaza strip


Paris, France : Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned about a new system of certification that Hamas has announced for all telecommunications companies, Internet service providers, broadcast media and news agencies based in the Gaza Strip, which has been controlled by the Islamist party Hamas since June 2007.

The press freedom organisation also called for the release of three journalists who have been held without explanation since 12 October in the Gaza Strip town of Deir Al-Balah.

“This decision seems above all to be motivated by Hamasf desire to control the press,h Reporters Without Borders. “The Islamist party is trying to give itself the tools that allow it to legally ban news media that show too much support for the Palestinian Authority.

RSF said that, after closing the state-owned Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, banning distribution of the pro-Fatah newspapers Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Al-Ayyam and arresting dozens of journalists, Hamas is going one step further by issuing this highly questionable directive.

“One of the results of these coercive measures imposed by Hamas is to force Palestinian journalists to censor themselves. They are also helping to delay the return of foreign journalists, who pulled out of the Gaza Strip after British journalist Alan Johnston abduction. Pluralism and media diversity are threatened by this kind of decision Reporters Without Borders stated.

In a separate development, Hamas security services arrested three journalists – Yusef Fayad and Akram Al-Louh, who work for the daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, and online reporter Hani Ismael – at their homes in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir Al-Balah on 12 October and took their computers. They are still being held without charge.