Today, Tuesday 19 November 2013, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights received the keys for Maan News Agency office in the presence of Maan ’s director in Gaza and Al Mezan’s senior lawyer, Mervat An-Nahhal, allowing Maan to resume its work in Gaza.
Maan office had been closed for four months as the Attorney General ordered to shut down Maan News Agency office in decision No.
On Thursday 25 January 2013, Maan were informed of the decision.
Maan authorized Al Mezan to act as its attorney representing it courts in Gaza.
On 5 September 2013, Al Mezan submitted a petition to the High Court in Gaza demanding the Attorney General's office to explain the reasons behind their decision to close these offices, and to order them re-opened.
Al Mezan argued that the forced closure of media offices violates article (27/3) of the Palestinian Amended Basic Law of 2005 which does not permit monitoring, banning or warning or the imposition of restrictions over the media unless by a judicial decision.
Article 47 of the Palestinian Press and Publications Law No 9 of 1995 states: “the competent authority is empowered by an administrative ruling, to seize and confiscate all printed copies issued at that date.
However, the court can also order a temporary suspension of the involved print for a specified period not exceeding three months”.
The Court accepted the petition and ordered an explanation from the prosecutors.
On 22 September, the Court issued an order to the Attorney General to respond to the petition and provide its reasoning as to the closure orders by 22 October.
However, the Attorney General's office did not appear before the court with a response.
On 29 October the Court ordered that a response be presented to the Court in a hearing on 17 November.
Nevertheless, no response was provided on that day.
The Court then ruled that the case be resolved through an agreed settlement.
On 26 November, the Attorney General issued an order re-opening the media offices.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights welcomes the re-opening of Maan office and calls for revoking the closure decision of Al Arabiya office.
Al Mezan asserts that such decisions are considered restrictions on the freedom of opinion and expression and press work.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls on the Government in Gaza to take the appropriate procedures to protect the right to free opinion and expression and free press work and ensure the respect of law in all cases.
Al Mezan emphasizes the importance of abiding to the Palestinian law by all media agencies and press organizations.