Bassam Tawil • April 27, 2017
In the world of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, a journalist's loyalty to his leaders and their cause supersedes his loyalty to the truth. In a word, it is the truth vs. Abbas's security forces.
- As the international media relies heavily on Palestinian journalists and "media assistants" in covering Palestinian affairs, this intimidation of Palestinian journalists heavily colors the reporting of Western journalists. The stories Palestinian journalists tell their Western colleagues are limited to ones that will not endanger their own lives. This censorship, whether by the Abbas's security forces or self-imposed, explains why one rarely reads or sees a story in Western mainstream media about negative things happening in the PA-controlled territories.
- Even when their Palestinian colleagues are beaten and arrested by Abbas's security forces, these "journalists" fail to report such incidents. This makes some sense: should they open their mouths with the truth, Abbas and his cohorts might indeed stop inviting them to press conferences and banquets in the fancy restaurants of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Seven Palestinian journalists are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) continued crackdown on the media.
The repressive measures are aimed at silencing critical voices among the journalists and deterring others from reporting stories that reflect negatively on the Palestinian leadership in particular and Palestinians in general.
In the view of President Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Palestinian journalists exist to write stories slamming Israel or praising PA leaders. Media, for them, is defined as a mouthpiece for Abbas, the PA leadership and the Palestinian cause.
Any journalist who dares to think outside this checkpoint is subject to severe punishment. Under Abbas and the PA, there is no room for an independent media.
The three major Palestinian newspapers -- Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda -- are controlled, directly and indirectly, by the PA.