Articles

The final straw for Palestinian journalists

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:56
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Fadi Abu Sada – As an audience of journalists in the West Bank we waited for the final act: to become the specific target of Jewish settlers. It seems this year that the extremists have added us to their well-organized plan and are not just preventing farmers from harvesting olives but are also bent on ensuring we do not broadcast our reality to the world.

There is no one left who is not abusing us except the people we write for and report to. But maybe they will strike a popular uprising at some point and come after us too for some reason or other, only time will tell. The sorrowful fact is that our profession has reached the nadir in status instead of being the Fourth Authority as journalists are in the rest of the world.

Reporters without Borders issued its yearly report and the worst thing to see was Israel ranked at 45. That means it has more press freedoms than any Arab country. Israel has freedom of expression and this is a great thing, but I say the Israeli ranking is the worst aspect of the report because soldiers and settlers attacking us, arresting us, and restricting our access and movement does not affect their standing. It is great that they have freedom of expression, but they prevent ours. Why do these things not affect the Israeli ranking?

And regrettably Palestine was ranked 163, very low in the world and the worst in the Middle East. But we still talk about freedom of the press in our country and we demand cessation of being gagged and an end to attacks on journalists and our media institutions.

We do not know if the Palestinian National Authority is aware of the importance of public freedoms and the negative image reflected to the world with the emergence of such findings in the Reporters without Borders report. And we do not know how to deal with Hamas on the issue of the report as it continues to arrest and attack Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip.

Let us stop all conversations that relate to public freedoms in the country as it seems that there is no hope to change the Palestinian reality. We do not say this out of subservience to our unfortunate reality but rather with the knowledge that the issue lies with the decision makers in the country who need to take serious action. We need brave positions by the PA and the factions. There is no need for more talk. Perhaps real action will bring up our standing in the eyes of the world. But since our own people and government do not respect our own constitution, of course we are at the lowest point in the Middle East and in our profession.