Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to Mahmoud Abbas, President of State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority has expressed concern over the attacks and detention of journalists, human rights activists and citizens for taking part in peaceful rallies on the current situation in the Strip.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali has strongly denounced the attacks on journalists and media workers and called on the authorities to immediately release the journalists without any charges.
According to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), at least 24 journalists and media workers were attacked by the security forces in Gaza Strip, since March 14, 2019.
The attacks included the arrest of 19 journalists and media workers, the journalists were physically assaulted during their arrest.
In addition Sami Yousef Issa, editing manager of the Bawabit Al-Hadaf news agency and Mahmoud Al-Louh, reporter of Sawt Alsha’b radio station as well as journalists Hassib al-Wazir, Mohammad al-Jaysh and Joma’aa Dalool were physically assaulted during these attacks.
The journalists arrested included, Nour al-Najjar, Osama al-Kahlout, Mohammed Abdul Salam al-Ashqar, Matar al-Zaq, Mustafa al-Dahdouh, Moin Mohsen, Fahad al-Khalidi, Moin Farajullah, Raafat al-Qudra, Majid Diab Qudeih, Ehab Fasfoos, Ahmad nasir Sahmood, Amer Ba’aloucheh, Bashar Taleb, Asim Shehadeh, Ahmed Al Shanabari, Hani Al-Agha and media students Amjad Halas and Osama Abu Sakran.
Though number of journalists were later released, but five journalists are still in detention, including the director-general of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation Raafat al-Qudra, the journalists Osama al-Kahlout, Amer Baalusha, and the journalism students Amjad Hailes and Osama Abu Sukran.
During the attacks, the journalists were also stopped from coverage, their equipment’s including the camera and mobile phones were also seized.
The wife of Osama al-Kahlout stated that on March 15, while Osama was broadcasting a live video on his Facebook page about the protests, some masked armed men from Hamas entered their house and started beating Osama with sticks, pushed his mother, damaged his equipment’s including the computer and then they took the journalist to the Deir al-Balah police station.
The armed men also assaulted the director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Jamil Sarhan and the lawyer of the Commission Bakir Turkmani who were present at the house of Osama.
On March 14, Sami Yusuf Ibrahim Issa was also harassed by five plain clothed men, stopped him from coverage.