Palestinian Authority Attacks Journalists

An Aug. 25 protest in Ramallah / Getty Images
August 25, 2021

The Palestinian government's security forces attacked two Washington Post reporters who were covering an anti-Palestinian Authority protest on Aug. 21, according to the Foreign Press Association.

"As police broke up the gathering, a Palestinian policeman grabbed the Washington Post photographer as he was taking pictures of the arrests [of protesters]," reads a statement from the association. "The officer seized the camera, held the photographer's neck and tore his press badge."

The Foreign Press Association said security forces went on to delete "seven photos" from the photographer's camera. When one reporter objected, a Palestinian security force officer said, "Here it's different. We don't care."

"When the camera was returned, both journalists were ordered to leave and told there would be a 'big problem' if photos of one of the officers were published," the statement continues.

Demonstrators assembled in downtown Ramallah to protest an anti-Palestinian Authority activist's death in police custody. The Palestinian Authority moved swiftly to disperse the crowd, saying that "there was no official permit from authorities to hold the gathering, and a group of the attendees refused to agree to the conditions for the gathering." At least 30 demonstrators were arrested.

"The Foreign Press Association condemns this egregious behavior in the strongest terms," the statement concludes. "We call on the Palestinian Authority to sanction the officers who were involved in this incident and to stand behind its past promises to respect the freedom of the press."

The areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority remain some of the most hostile places for journalists, according to non-governmental organizations. According to the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Palestinian territory ranks as "137 out of 180 countries" for freedom of the press.