Today early morning, Israeli forces closed 8 branch offices of 3 media companies for in the West Bank, providing media services in Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem. These companies are PalMedia, Ram Sat, and Trans Media, noting that the offices are rented by the channels of al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Palestine Today. Israeli forces confiscated the broadcasting devices and equipment and closed the offices for 6 months without identifying the reasons in addition to arresting 2 journalists from Hebron. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these decisions and calls upon the intentional community to put pressure on Israeli forces to end their attacks against the Palestinian media facilities. These attacks are part of systematic steps to silence the voice of truth and cover up the serious violations of human rights in the oPt.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 18 October 2017, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and raided the office of PalMedia Company for Media Services in the 8th floor in the Municipality Complex Building. They also confiscated the company’s broadcasting, production, and distribution equipment and then closed it with an iron plate. They also fixed to its outside door posters signed by the “Commander of the IDF Judea and Samaria Division” stating that closing the company is necessary. They also raided the offices of Trans Media and Ram Sat Companies for Media Services in the 4th floor of Qanaze’a Building next to the Municipality Complex. They also confiscated broadcasting, production, and distribution equipment and closed the companies with an iron plate. They also fixed to the outside doors similar posters stressing the closure was upon an order by the Israeli forces’ commander in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided al-Maha building in Hebron that includes offices of various media companies and channels. They raided the offices of al-Quds Channel, Al-Aqsa TV, Trans Media Company and PalMedia Company. They also arrested the Director of Tans Media Company, journalist ‘Amer Mohammed al-Ja’abari (40), from his house in Nemrah neighborhood, and his brother, Ibrahim, the Company’s Administrative Director, from his house in Sha’abah neighborhood, taking both of them to an unknown destination. The Israeli forces fixed a statement to the offices’ doors, stating the closure of Ram Sat Media Agency’s branch office will be for 6 months. The Israeli forces also raided the Community Knowledge and Research Library near Trans Media office in Hebron, seized 6 computers, a Fiber device and photocopiers and broke the doors and surveillance cameras.
Around the same time in Ramallah, Israeli forces raided broadcasting and media production companies, including Ram Sat, Trans Media, and PalMedia, and seized their equipment and videotapes and their montage. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces raided Palestine Building in Ramallah that includes media companies and damaged the elevators in it. They also prevented anyone from entering or leaving the building. They raided the offices of Trans Media and PalMedia in addition to seizing their equipment. They then ordered the owners to close their companies for 6 months and threatened whoever disobeys the orders will subject himself to interrogation or detention.
It should be mentioned that Israeli forces raided PalMedia Company for the second time consecutively within 2 months and seized all its contents.
In Bethlehem, Israeli forces seized equipment from the media office of Pal Media Company. Eyewitnesses said that large force of Israeli soldiers raided the office of PalMedia Company on al-Karkafah Street in the center of Bethlehem after breaking the main door. They then confiscated some devices and equipment and damaged others.
PCHR follows up with deep concern the closure of 8 branch offices of 3 media companies in the West Bank, confiscation of their equipment, and arrest of 2 journalists working in these companies. PCHR also calls upon the international community to put pressure on the Israeli forces to back down the closure and confiscation decisions and put an end to the daily attacks against local and international journalists and media actors in the oPt.