New York, June 14, 2017—Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip should immediately release Fouad Jaradeh, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Jaradeh, a reporter for Palestine TV, the official Palestinian Authority broadcaster based in the West Bank, was detained June 8 in Gaza City by authorities from the territory’s Hamas-led government, according to news reports.
According to the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, officers from Hamas’ Internal Security Branch raided Jaradeh’s home the evening of June 8 and confiscated his computer and mobile phone before arresting him. Nabhan Khraishi, the communications officer for the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, told CPJ that Hamas security officials charged Jaradeh with “communicating with Ramallah,” a reference to the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by Hamas’ rival party, Fatah, and is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Khraishi said the journalists’ detention was renewed for 15 days today. The Mada Center, a Palestinian press freedom group, said in an emailed statement that the journalist is detained at Qasr al-Hakem, an Interior Security Branch facility.
As a correspondent for Palestine TV in Gaza, Jaradeh’s work spanned a range of issues, ranging from interviews with locals about how the isolated territory’s deteriorating economy affected their day-to-day lives to conversations with past neighbors of deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Hamas representatives did not immediately reply to an email from CPJ seeking comment.
“Fouad Jaradeh’s arrest illustrates the pressure that Palestinian journalists face from all sides,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “Hamas authorities should release Fouad Jaradeh immediately and should not deny Palestinians in the West Bank the right to receive news from Gaza.”
Hamas has cracked down on media outlets before. In 2013, Hamas shuttered the bureaus of the Saudi-funded broadcaster Al-Arabia and the Palestinian news agency Maan News. In 2011, Hamas security forces attacked the bureaus of several international outlets. Palestinian journalists have also faced pressure from the Israeli government and settlers, as well as the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority security forces attacked a Roya TV television crew covering a protest in Ramallah in March, and Israeli security forces attacked several journalists covering a Jerusalem protest in May. That same month, an Israeli settler shot AP photographer Majdi Mohammed when he opened fire on demonstrators blocking a road outside Nablus.