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 â€śallow Palestine TV and the Al-Arz Media Services Company to reopen their offices and resume their workâ€ť, also demanding that Israeli occupation forces â€ścease conducting raids of media organisationsâ€ť.
On Wednesday, â€śIsraeli 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€ť.
The raid and closure were ordered by Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
As described by CPJ, Israeli police â€śquestioned 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€ť, who were released â€śa few hours laterâ€ť.
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.
â€śIsraeli authorities must stop using the police and intelligence services to bludgeon local news organizations,â€ť said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.
â€śPalestine 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€ť Delgado added.