Palestinian Authority security forces attacked journalists from media outlets including the Jordanian broadcaster Roya TV, the Palestinian broadcaster Watan TV, and the news website Palestine Today as they covered a March 12, 2017, protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to news reports.
Demonstrators had gathered in front of the Ramallah Court Complex to protest Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinian activist and youth leader Basil al-Araj in a Ramallah raid six days prior, Roya TV journalist Hafez Abu Sabra told CPJ. When protestors started blocking the road in front of the courthouse, Palestinian security forces forcibly dispersed them, beating journalists including Roya TV video journalist Mohammed Shousheh, Palestine Today journalist Jihad Barakat, and Watan TV journalist Ahmed Melhem in the process, Abu Sabra said.
Abu Sabra suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder, and leg as a result of the beating, he added, and Shousheh told the Palestine Center for Development and Media Freedoms that security forces also beat him as they tried to take his camera. Barakat also told the center that the security forces had smashed his camera.
Palestinian Special Forces “do not recognize the difference between a journalist and a protester,” Abu Sabra said.