Palestinian Authority crackdown on media raises alarm among journalists

EPA photographer Abed al-Hashlamoun is helped by fellow journalists after being injured by stun grenades thrown by Israeli forces during a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on May 4, 2017, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. / AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER
Journalists and media rights activists have warned that the arrest of a journalist by the Palestinian security forces last week points to new attempts to drastically restrict journalism in the West Bank.
Jihad Barakat, a journalist with the Palestine Today channel, was arrested on Friday near a checkpoint in Tulkarem after filming the convoy of the Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah.
According to a statement from Addameer, a prisoners’ rights group providing legal representation to Barakat, he was arrested by the Palestinian preventative security force, and was held without access to lawyer until Saturday morning.
“Despite attempts by Addameer’s attorney to obtain information about him and to visit him since his arrest, the legal advisor in Tulkarem denied that Barakat was seized by PA security forces,” the statement read.
After his lawyer was allowed access, he was released on bail, but is due to face trial in September on a varied list of charges.
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