PA closes news agency, summons its director for questioning

The owner of the JMedia agency was recently arrested for protesting killing of activist Nizar Banat.

Tags: Censorship PA
Elad Benari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Tuesday closed the offices of JMedia, a news agency in Ramallah, and summoned its director, Ala al-Rimawi, for questioning, the Jerusalem Post.

According to the report, Rimawi was recently arrested for protesting the killing of activist Nizar Banat and insulting Palestinian Arab leaders.

Banat, one of the fiercest opponents of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, died last month as PA officials attempted to arrest him.

The PA claims that he died due to a deterioration in his medical condition that occurred during the arrest, but his family members claimed he was "eliminated."

Following his death, Palestinian Arabs took to the streets to protest, leading to expressions of concern from the UN, which said that PA security forces had used force against initially peaceful protesters, “including beating them with batons and firing teargas and stun grenades.”

The PA has in the past cracked down on people, social media and news websites that are critical of Abbas.

In 2019, a PA court blocked access to 51 online news sources that the PA regards as threats.

In 2017, Abbas issued a decree allowing his government to jail anyone on charges of harming "national unity" or the "social fabric".

Following the decree, the PA government blocked 30 websites, most of which were affiliated with Abbas' two main rivals, his longtime political rival Mohammed Dahlan and the Hamas terrorist group which controls Gaza.

In 2012, Abbas also censored media outlets affiliated with his rivals. He subsequently ordered the censorship to be lifted after coming under fire for it.



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