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​Detention of journalists is undermining press freedom

Graphic: Palestinian journalists relax against a wall

The Commission has expressed concern regarding repeated instances of the detention and arrest of journalists and citizens.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights has expressed its concern regarding the instances of detention and arrest of journalists and citizens on the basis of opinion, expression and press work.

"Such instances have been repeated in the recent period," the Commission said in a statement.

"The Commission sees that detention and arrest regarding cases related to free speech and free press may restrict freedom of expression, and that it is necessary not to resort to detention and arrest except for extremist instances, but instead, to resort to other alternatives and measures."

The Commission also noted that the recent deterioration of freedom of expression and free press is "in contradiction to the statements of the President and the Prime Minister, the State of Palestine's commitment to the signed international agreements, and to the declaration of freedom of media in the Arab World".

Accordingly, the Commission has called for:

  • Immediate release of all detainees on the background of freedom of expression and free press
  • Reconsidering the valid legislation related to freedom of expression, such as the law of punishment and the laws of printed materials and publications, and modifying them in accordance with the Palestine's obligations under the international agreements it has joined
  • Up to the time of legislations' modification, the judicial authorities – including the General Prosecution and the judges – shall not expand in the use of discretionary power in precautionary detention, and that this shall be restricted to exceptional instances which entail a real risk that cannot be met unless with precautionary detention.
  • Precautionary detention shall not be used as a means of punishment, restriction of freedom of expression, and silencing voices.

The Commission's full statement is available on its website.

Date: 10 July 2017

Source: Independent Commission for Human Rights

Image credits

  1. Palestinian journalists relax against a wall - Al Jazeera, Flickr