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PA Minister Resigns Following Internet Restrictions

Palestinian Authority Minister of Communications, Mashour Abu Daqa, announced his resignation following the PA's censorship of websites.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 4/30/2012, 4:25 PM

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority's Minister of Communications, Mashour Abu Daqa, has announced his resignation following the PA’s censorship of numerous websites, the Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

Last week, the PA, under the authority of Mahmous Abbas, ordered Internet providers to block access to at least eight websites that are critical of Abbas’ leadership or PA policies.

Upon his resignation on Thursday night, Abu Daqa stated that the decision to limit information availability was, "bad for the image of the Palestinian Authority in the modern world."

He went on to say that in doing so the PA is attempting to silence its critics and limit freedom of speech.

The blocked websites included Amad, Fatah Voice, Firas Press, In Light Press, Karama Press, Kofia Press, Milad News and Palestine Beituna, all of which criticized the leadership of Mr Abbas, according to PNN.

The websites are also reportedly loyal to one of his harshest opponents, Mohammed Dahlan, who was expelled from the Fatah movement after accusing President Abu Mazim of being a weak leader and allowing his sons to financially benefit from his leadership.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi also criticized the PA’s censorship of websites saying,  “The blocking of Palestinian news websites and other measures that prevent access to information and curb freedom of expression are in complete contradiction to the principles enshrined in the Basic Law.”