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      Hamas Criticized for Censorship of Media

      Factions in the Palestinian Authority were angry with Hamas over its censorship of Al Arabiya and the Ma’an news agency in Gaza.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 7/27/2013, 1:36 AM

      Journalists rally in Gaza (archive)
      Journalists rally in Gaza (archive)
      Flash 90

      Factions in the Palestinian Authority were angry with Hamas on Friday over its censorship of the Al Arabiya network and the Ma’an news agency in Gaza.

      On Thursday, the attorney-general in Gaza’s Hamas-run government ordered the closure of both outlets, claiming they distributed “false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt."

      The culture and media commission of the Fatah faction chaired by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas said the closures violated Palestinian Authority Arabs’ right to information, according to Ma’an. It called on Arab media organizations and human rights groups to act against threats to the media.

      The Palestinian National Initiative called on Hamas to reconsider its decision to close the offices of these two outlets, to respect the rights to expression and stop attacks against the media freedoms.

      Meanwhile, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called on Hamas to reverse its decision. PFLP condemned "such violations against journalism and journalistic work" and described the closures as repressive, according to Ma’an.

      The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for the reopening of the Ma'an and Al-Arabiya offices and said the closure orders violated the rights to expression and media freedom.

      The Palestinian Peoples' Party also called for an end to attacks on freedoms and condemned the Hamas decision to close the bureaus.

      In the past, Abbas too censored news websites linked to his fiercest critics. He subsequently ordered the censorship to be lifted after coming under fire for it.

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)