Indirect but effective censorship of two Palestinian Authority media by Israel

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns Israel’s decision to close the production company that retransmitted the Palestinian Authority’s public TV channel and radio station in East Jerusalem. Seven journalists were detained and questioned when police carried out the closure order. RSF calls for it to be rescinded, regarding it as a dangerous escalation in the attacks against Palestinian media.

Signed by far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on 14 March, the order prohibited Marcel, a production company based in in East Jerusalem, from providing communications services for the Palestine TV channel and Voice of Palestine radio station, which are part of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and are controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli police closed Marcel’s offices, located in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina, thereby cutting short Palestine TV retransmission in East Jerusalem. Marcel’s manager, Amir Abbas, and six of his employees – reporters Layali Eid, Nuhad Hijazi and Lana Kamela and photographers Firas Handawi, Yazan Haddad and Walid Kamar – were detained and questioned for several hours before being released. The national security minister bragged about the police operation in one of his tweets, accusing Palestine TV of broadcasting “incitement.”


“The decision by the Israeli authorities to deprive the Palestinian public broadcaster of its means of broadcasting is part of a growing crackdown on the Palestinian media and amounts to indirect but very effective censorship of the Palestinian Authority’s media outlets. Furthermore, it is unacceptable to target and intimidate journalists who are just doing their job. The ban on the production company, which in practice prevents the broadcasting of Palestine TV and Voice of Palestine, must be lifted immediately.”

Jonathan Dagher
Head of RSF’s Middle East Desk

It was the Marcel production company, which has worked with the Palestinian Authority’s media for several years, which enabled the PBC to continue broadcasting in East Jerusalem despite an initial ban imposed by the Israeli authorities in November 2019. The order targeting Marcel could affect other media that benefit from its services.

Condemning the national security minister’s closure order, the PBC said it exposed the “falsehood” that Israel is “a democratic state and respects the work of the media [and] freedom of expression.”

Marcel’s closure was made possible by a law adopted in 1995 as part of the implementation of the Oslo Accords that bans Palestinian Authority agencies from conducting activities within the city of Jerusalem. Dozens of events, press conferences and cultural gatherings have been banned over the years in East Jerusalem under this law.

This censorship of Palestine TV and Voice of Palestine has been preceded by constant attacks by Israel against Palestinian journalists and media. Since Shireen Abu Akleh’s filmed murder in May 2022, RSF has compiled video and audio evidence of at least 11 other journalists being targeted or aggressed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. Countless other attacks have taken place off camera.

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