Israeli authoritiesâ closure of Palestine TV offices was slammed by an international press freedom watchdog yesterday.
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged Israel to âallow Palestine TV and the Al-Arz Media Services Company to reopen their offices and resume their workâ, also demanding that Israeli occupation forces âcease conducting raids of media organisationsâ.
On Wednesday, âIsraeli police and intelligence officers raided the Jerusalem offices of Palestine TV and the Al-Arz Media Services Company, seized broadcasting equipment, and ordered the companies to remain closed for six monthsâ.
The raid and closure were ordered by Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
As described by CPJ, Israeli police âquestioned Palestine TV reporter Christine Rinawi and Al-Arz manager Nizar Younes and director Ayman Abu Rmouz at the al-Maskobiya police station in Jerusalem following the raidsâ, who were released âa few hours laterâ.
Palestine TV is a local broadcaster funded by the Palestinian Authority (PA), while Al-Arz Media Services Company provides production and broadcast support for Palestine TV. Israeli authorities routinely suppress any PA-supported, or linked, activity in occupied East Jerusalem.
âIsraeli authorities must stop using the police and intelligence services to bludgeon local news organizations,â said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.
âPalestine TV and the Al-Arz Media Services Company should be allowed to reopen and resume their work; if Israeli authorities believe they have violated any agreements, then that should be dealt with in the courts, not through surprise raids and shutdowns,â Delgado added.