On Thursday, 26 October 2017, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) concluded a training course on the freedom of opinion and expression. The workshop was attended by 24 persons, including 18 females, including activists, lawyers, media workers, and freedom of opinion and expression defenders, who are all also fellows of Promoting Media Freedoms project carried out by PCHR and funded by the Canadian Government. The 10-hour course was held in the Lighthouse Restaurant’s hall in Gaza City on 25 and 26 October 2017.
The training program included the introduction to human rights, the freedom of opinion and expression in the international conventions, restrictions imposed on the freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of opinion and expression in Palestinian laws, and Cybercrimes Law.
A team of specialized trainers supervised the training sessions. The team included Mohammed Atallah, a trainer at PCHR; Bassam al-Aqra’, Director of PCHR’s Training Unit, and Mohammed Abu Hashem, a researcher at PCHR’s Democratic Development Unit.
At the end of the course, PCHR organized a closing ceremony. Mr. Bassam al-Aqra’a, Director of the Training Unit, said that, “This training course is part of PCHR’s long-term efforts exerted to disseminate the culture of respect for opinion and protection of the right to expression of opinion within a project titled as the Protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression for Palestinian Journalists and Media Activists in the Gaza Strip, that is funded by the Canadian Government. Al-Aqra’ added, “the relation between PCHR and the participants should be strengthened afterwards as PCHR’s doors will always be open to participants in order to benefit from PCHR’s experience in the field of defending freedom of opinion and expression, especially that PCHR documents violations against media workers, opinion makers, and activists on this ground and issues a periodic report on the freedom of opinion and expression.” Al-Aqra’ also said that he hopes, “to find a generation of lawyers and media workers specialized in defending the freedom of opinion and expression.
The participants praised PCHR’s role in defending the freedom of opinion and expression and disseminating the culture of respect for opinion and expression. Heba Abu Halima, one of the participants, highlighted the importance of holding such activities, particularly in light of the issuance of the Cybercrimes Law. Eshaq Helles, an activist and participant in the course, stressed that, “The course was distinguished with its rich topics and contributed to raising participants’ awareness of human rights; trainers’ efficiency and various and interactive training methods used in the course.”
At the end of the ceremony, all participants received certificates.