Sunday, July 19, 2009

Al Jazeera West Bank ban 'revoked'

"The Palestinian Authority (PA) has revoked its decision to suspend Al Jazeera network's operations in the occupied West Bank, days after sanctioning it for 'false reporting'......

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on Palestinian officials to immediately allow the network to reopen its offices in Ramallah.

"The suspension of Al Jazeera sends a clear message that the Palestinian Authority has red lines when it comes to free speech," said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also criticised the suspension, calling it "a serious violation of press freedom".

"It shows intolerance on the part of the Palestinian Authority and suggests that it is trying to control [the] media by suppressing reporting which it does not like," Aidan White, the general-secretary of IFJ, said in a statement.

"The ban should be lifted immediately."

The Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem, which groups international news organisations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said it was "deeply concerned" by the PA's move.

"We urge the PA to reconsider and are urgently seeking a resolution in line with the PA's stated commitment to freedom of the press," it said.

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