The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has blocked two Saudi-owned news and media outlets from operating within the Gaza Strip over allegations of reporting "fake news", AFP said yesterday.
The ban on Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath was confirmed by the Interior Ministry of the de facto Hamas government in the territory, as well as Al-Arabiya itself. Several members of the outlet's staff were arrested after they allegedly collaborated with Israel and a senior member of the movement defected to the Zionist state.
The measures taken against the networks, which one anonymous Al-Arabiya journalist said prevents "anyone or any business from providing services" to them, came as Hamas first denied that it had made any arrests in this connection. It did admit, however, that a member of its military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, has gone over to the Israelis.
Much of the tension between the channels and Hamas is said to have been caused by Al-Arabiya's comparison of the group with the Muslim Brotherhood. It also ties in with the strained relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia, which have been negotiating in recent months over the detention of Palestinians within the Kingdom, whose release Hamas has prioritised.
The Palestinian Journalists' Union has condemned the Hamas move against the outlets. "Restrictions on press freedom and repeated shutdowns of media [in Gaza] are contrary to national values and principles," the union insisted.