On Thursday 25 July 2013, Public Prosecutor’s Office shuts down Al Arabiya News Channel, Ma’an News Agency and Lens Company for Media in Gaza.
Palestinian Press Law of 1995 entitles the authorized court to consider all violations of the law not the Public Prosecutor Al Mezan calls for reopening the offices and the respect of freedom of opinion and expression According to field investigations collected by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, at approximately 4:15 pm on Thursday, July 25, 2013, six officers from the police general investigation department dressed in civilian clothes arrived at Al Arabiya news channel offices and informed its office director, Islam Abdel Kareem, about the public prosecutor’s decision to temporary close the office and seize all its content.
One of the officers showed Mr.
Abdel Kareem a copy of the decision but refused to hand the decision over.
The officer also ordered Mr.
Abdel Kareem to leave the office, stating that anyone henceforth found in the office would be arrested.
In its decision, the public prosecutor stated that the closure is a response to the spreading of false news that threatens civil peace and harms Palestinians and resistance efforts.
At approximately 4:30 pm on the same day, another police investigation force arrived at the Ma’an news agency office and ordered its staff to leave the office upon a decision from the public prosecutor.
According to sources, the office of Lens Company for Media was closed based on a decision from the council of ministers that has to do with the prevention of interaction with Israeli media offices.
Al Mezan phoned Mr.
Shams Shana’a, the company director who was in Cairo, and who stated that the company was not in fact running as of yet and he was in Cairo purchasing additional media equipment.
He expressed surprise at the news.
Al Mezan calls for revoking the decision and views it as a restriction on freedom of expression, opinion and the press.
Al Mezan asserts that the closure procedures violate Palestinian Basic Amended Law of 2005, which denies any form of monitoring, ban or warning or the imposition of restrictions over the media unless by a judicial decision in conformity.
Palestinian Basic Law emphasizes the individualism of punishment and bans illegal collective punishment.
Palestinian Press Law of 1995 entitles the authorized court to consider all violations of the law not the Public Prosecutor.