February 8, 2002 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Vendetta in Jenine : filming prohibited

In a letter addressed to the vice-minister of the Interior, Ahmed Saïd Tamimi, Reporters sans frontières (RSF – Reporters Without Borders) protested against the intimidation towards journalists and confiscation of their equipment during the events of Jenine on February 5. "On no account should the Palestinian authority prevent the media from doing their job, in particular when tragic events such as the one which took pace in Jenine", declared Robert Ménard, general secretary of the organisation. "We are asking you to take emergency measures so that obstacles to the right of informing met by journalists on the territories under your control be lifted", he added. According to the information gathered by RSF, the Palestinian police prevented journalists from working in Jenine on February 5 while they were covering the trial of three Palestinians charged with murder. The cassettes of the television teams were forfeited by police forces after the cameramen had managed to film, from outside the chamber of commerce (turned into a court), the mob angry at the verdict thought to be not harsh enough. The three young Palestinians had just been sentenced to fifteen-year imprisonment for the murder, the week before, of a Palestinian security officer who was a relative of theirs. Rallied outside the chamber of commerce, the mob then forced its entrance into the building while some men shot and killed the three convicted Palestinians. Their body was then dragged into the street. Since 11 September 2001, the Palestinian police forces had, on several occasions, prevented journalists from working freely in particular when some Palestinians showed their delight further to the attacks of New-York. On September 14, the Palestinian police had questioned five journalists. They were covering, in a refugee camp of Nusseirat, a demonstration honouring the memory of the perpetrator of the suicidal attack of September 9 in Nahariya, in Israel. A photographer and an editor for Reuters, a cameraman for APTV, the satellite television correspondent of Abou Dhabi and a photographer for the AFP had been released one hour and a half later after the police had forfeited their video cassettes and films. During that commemoration, a portrait of Oussama ben Laden had been brandished by teenagers.