Hamas-Fatah Factionalism Carrying Over to Journalism Realm

maan.jpg The arrest of Ma’an News Agency top editor Mu’taz al-Kurdi comes after two freelance television journalists formerly working for the West Bank branch of Al Aqsa TV, Alaa Al-Titi and Asyad Amarna, were detained while reporting in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday by the Palestinian Preventative Security Service. Fatah-Hamas factionalism, which skyrocketed after Hamas took over the Gaza strip in June, has carried over increasingly to the realm of journalism as you can see in this story, as it has increased in other walks of Palestinian life. As pointed out in Ha’aretz, the Fatah-led government based in the West Bank has since banned the only Hamas newspaper, Felasteen, from publishing in the West Bank and has barred all mention of Hamas on West Bank TV.

Ibrahim Ibrach, culture minister under the Mahmoud Abbas led Fatah government in the West Bank, said al-Kurdi was arrested on security grounds. In other words Fatah fears media outlets like Ma’an News Agency may provide a platform to aid Islamist Palestinian faction Hamas in eventually overrunning Fatah’s remaining stronghold in the West Bank as it did Gaza.

Below is the message currently displayed on Ma’an’s website today in protest of al-Kurdi’s arrest and as part of the strike:

Palestinian security arrests Mu’taz Al-Kurdi, member of Ma’an’s board of directors and director of Al-Amal TV in Hebron

اعتقال معتز الكردي عضو مجلس ادارة “معا” ومدير تلفزيون الامل في الخليل وتوقف التلفزيون عن البث

Ma’an News Agency expresses its deep disappointment and indignation at arrests of journalists.

Al-Amal TV suspended it’s broadcast on Friday in protest of the detention of their director.

Ma’an also announces the suspension of its work in protest. Several of Ma’an’s local partners in TV and radio will also halt their broadcasts today in protest and solidarity with our colleague Mu’taz Al-Kurdi and Al-Amal TV.

اننا في وكالة معا الاخبارية نعبر عن احتجاجنا على اعتقال الصحفيين والاعلاميين، ونعلن عن احتجابنا لهذا اليوم.

كما علمت وكالة معا ان العديد من التلفزيونات والاذاعات المحلية الشريكة لـ شبكة معا ستتوقف عن البث هذا اليوم احتجاجا وتضامنا مع الزميل معتز الكردي وتلفزيون الامل

Palestinian editor arrested after airing Hamas speech

(Reuters) — A major Palestinian news service stopped broadcasting on Friday to protest the arrest of one of its top editors by Palestinian police after his station broadcast a speech by a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip.

Executives from the Maan agency said Mu’taz al-Kurdi, a member of its board and director of Hebron’s al-Amal television station, was arrested on Thursday for airing a speech by Ismail Haniyeh, who serves as prime minister of a Hamas-led government dismissed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June after routing Fatah forces loyal to Abbas. Tensions between Hamas and Fatah remain high in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where both sides accuse each other of cracking down on their rivals.

“This is an illegal arrest,” said Saleem Sowidan, chairman of Maan’s board. “We did not receive any official letter telling us not broadcast this or any other speech. We will go on an open-ended strike in all West Bank cities until he is freed.”

Ramadan Awad, Hebron’s chief of police, said they arrested Kurdi because he had not reported for work as a policeman and for showing “a lack of respect to the police in Hebron”.

Sowidan disputed the police account, saying Kurdi worked as an editor and did not hold a second job as a policeman.

A spokesman for Abbas’s government in the West Bank had no immediate comment on Kurdi’s arrest.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said the arrest “confirms there is suppression of the media in the West Bank”.


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