15 February '11
Just Journalism interviews an editor of Ma'an News Agency, George Hale. Since I have been carefully following Ma'an for years, I was interested in what he had to say about censorship of his paper by Hamas and Fatah:
GH: The PA frequently harasses and arrests journalists. A TV reporter, Mamdouh Hamamreh, was recently arrested because his Facebook profile displayed an image poking fun at Abbas. They’re actually using this old Jordanian law that, believe it or not, prohibits criticizing the king! It’s fitting considering Abbas’ term expired two years ago last month.
But there you have another example which raises questions about Fayyadʼs two-year plan, which vows to reform these outdated and unusual laws. He says he’s taking initiative but the monarchy law is, inexplicably, still on the books. Why is that?
MW: Ma’an’s journalism, though, seems pretty unfettered in terms of the damning information it relays about either government. On the whole, how would you describe freedom of speech in the West Bank?
GH: For me, excellent. People often have a hard time believing Ma’an operates without input from the authorities. But this is my third year on desk, and not once have I found evidence of serious pressure for anyone to ignore a story or to publish another. This is to the government’s credit, but their other tactics muddle that record.
(Read full "Ma'an editor lies to Just Journalism")
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