Journalism a Crime in Occupied Palestine

Journalism isn’t considered a crime by universal law. A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information as a resource to the general public. Journalism can be considered one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Without journalists, we would have no knowledge of current issues happening globally. In addition, without journalists we would never know when human rights violations would occur.

Journalists sometimes expose themselves to danger, particularly when reporting in areas of armed conflict or in states that do not respect the freedom of the press. Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders publish reports on press freedom and advocate for journalistic freedom.

It should be emphasized that killing of journalists and media workers is a violation of international law.

However, in occupied Palestine journalism is a crime. Israel is notorious for hiding their war crimes, and assaulting journalists is a way to keep these war crimes hidden. Israel is considered the world’s 2nd deadliest place for journalists, behind Syria. In the 2014 siege of Gaza by Israel, the Committee to Protect Journalist put the number of Palestinian reporters and media workers killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza at least fifteen in less than  40 days. Since then the number of journalist being murdered and held in administrative detention without charges has risen dramatically.

 

Journalist Rami Rayan was killed on 30 July 2014 in Israeli shelling of a market in Gaza City’s Shujaiya district. Mohammed Asad / APA Images

 

Administrative detention is implemented solely on the basis of an administrative order, without either indictment or trial. Under certain circumstances, this type of detention may be lawful. However, due to the substantial injury to due process inherent in this measure, international law stipulates that it may be exercised only in very exceptional cases – and then only as a last possible resort, when there are no other means available to prevent the danger. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention. Over the years, thousands of Palestinians have been held in Israeli custody as administrative detainees for extended periods of time.

Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly violates the restrictions of international law. Israel carries it out in a highly classified manner that denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense. Moreover, the detention has no upper time limit. Over the years, Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence. In this way, the military judicial system ignores the right to freedom and due process, the right of defendants to state their case, and the presumption of innocence, all of which are protections clearly enshrined in both Israeli and international law.

Administrative detention holds no barriers, and Israel routinely uses this as a means to detain journalists in the occupied territories from exposing their war crimes. Mohammed al-Qeeq is a prime example. Al-Qeeq, a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah has been held under a six-month Israeli administrative detention order without charge or trial along with 660 other administrative detainees currently being held by Israel. His crime, being a journalist.

“Mohammed al-Qeeq, like many before him, is being silenced by administrative detention measures in order to quell the Palestinian narrative,” Abbas Hamideh, director of the Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners, told MintPress News.

“Journalists have a powerful voice with the outside world via social media,” Hamideh said. “This, in particular, Israel tries to crush.” Mohammad al-Qeeq is a journalist arrested by Israel to shut the voice of truth

Israel’s unlawful practice of administrative detention allows the regime forces to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Only in the rules of the Israeli occupation a person is imprisoned without any accusation or charges against them. The administrative detainees have no knowledge of the evidence allegedly against them and no way to try to refute it.

In response to his unlawful administrative detention by Israel, al-Qeeq has gone on a hunger strike, living only on water for the 87th day respectively. Al-Qeeq stands against occupation & inequality, as well as journalistic freedom.

According to Maan News  Agency, Amnesty International on Wednesday demanded Israeli authorities to transfer hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

“The Israeli courts have failed, over many years, to provide effective legal recourse to the thousands of Palestinian administrative detainees held without charge or trial on the basis of secret “evidence” withheld from them and their lawyers, under orders that can be renewed indefinitely, Amnesty International said. Including journalists.

A video emerged a few days ago from Al-Qeeq as he lay dying in his hospital bed. Unwilling to give up, asking only to see his son one last time.

Political campaigns have risen across the world urging the United Nations and various human rights organizations to get Israel to comply with international law. However there have been no changes in the situation and Israel continues to defy international law. The death of Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qeeq is imminent after nearly 87 days of hunger strike. Since then, four more prisoners have joined in the hunger strike in hopes of achieving their freedom.

Campaigns and protests have risen across the globe in support of al-Qeeq.

Fayhaa Shalah, seen in the video below is the wife of Mohammad al-Qeeq who has been on a hunger strike since November 25 2015. She is calling on Journalists around the world and activists to act now to save her Husbands life.

“Muhammad is fighting for his freedom,” Shalash says in the brief English-language video, “He is on hunger strike because he wants to be free.”

 

Activists have been protesting vigorously over the last week using social media storms and hashtags #AlQeeqFree and #AlQeeqDying as an international outcry to protects the rights of journalists, and Palestinians in the occupied territories. As well as putting an end to administrative detention which defies international law.

Several tweet sheets have been created by underground human rights organizations to help in the social media storms, making it easier and more effective to spread the word on a mass scale. And social media storms have been going every day, around the clock for nearly a week.

Its time that we as international activists and journalists stand together for our rights to report and work as media professionals deemed under international law. We must put an end to Israeli war crimes, administrative detention, and slaying of domestic and foreign journalists simply doing their job.

 

 

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