Presenters Christine Rinawi and Dana Ghazi and cameramen Ali Yassin and Ameer Rabbo, who had come from Palestine TV’s headquarters in Ramallah, had just started broadcasting the "Good Morning Jerusalem" programme at 9 a.m. when Israeli police officers ordered them to turn off their cameras, confiscated their equipment and mobile phones and arrested them. The police released them a few hours later. Several videos recorded the scene.
Today’s incident came two weeks after the Israeli authorities closed the Palestine TV offices and studio in Jerusalem for six months for acting as the Palestinian Authority’s broadcast mouthpiece in the city of Jerusalem, the entirety of which is regarded by Israel as its capital.
“The Israeli authorities must rehabilitate Palestine TV and allow its journalists to work freely in Jerusalem,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “This Israeli police operation constitutes yet another violation of the right of Palestinians to freely reported news and information.”
According to the information obtained by RSF, the four journalists were released on condition that they undertake not to work for Palestine TV in Jerusalem again and not to communicate with the media during the next weeks, failing which they would be fined 2,000 shekels (500 euros) and could be prosecuted.
Israel is ranked 88th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.