Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Predators of Press Freedom: Palestinian territories - Hamas security forces in Gaza

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 3 May 2011
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Predators of Press Freedom: Palestinian territories - Hamas security forces in Gaza, 3 May 2011, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Hamas security forces in Gaza, Palestinian territories

Journalists have been paying dearly in the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Territories since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The resulting major split in the media was aggravated by the lack of agreement between the two movements on holding parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010. The Hamas government has made it clear since June 2007 that it wants to control the media in Gaza, threatening media freedom. After the Gaza branch of the Union of Palestinian Journalists was disbanded, Hamas established a new system of accreditation for all telecommunications and Internet companies as well as broadcast media and news agencies based in the Gaza Strip. Hamas also enforced a 1996 law under which journalists can be imprisoned for putting out news deemed to threaten "national unity."

Threats, physical violence and arbitrary arrest and detention by Hasmas security forces are common. A score of journalists were arrested or roughed up during 2010 by the Hamas interior ministry's security service. Such measures oblige Palestinian journalists to censor themselves. Security forces have harshly broken up meetings since mid-March 2011 in the centre of Gaza City organised by the "March 15 Coalition" calling for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, and have arrested and beaten journalists, including about 20 on 15 March. Security forces raided many local and foreign media offices on 19 March looking for photos of the crackdown.

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