Hamas closes Ma’an, Al Arabiya offices in Gaza
Freedom of the press, Hamas-style:
The attorney-general in the Hamas-run government on Thursday ordered the closure of the Ma’an News Agency and Al-Arabiya satellite channel bureaus in Gaza.
The order was relayed to Ma’an by officials from the Hamas-run Ministry of Information and security forces.
Ministry officials accompanied by security forces questioned the Gaza bureau chief in his office on Thursday over a report published on Ma’an’s Arabic site that quoted information translated from a Hebrew news site.
The report said that six Muslim Brotherhood officials had smuggled themselves into Gaza to plan an uprising against the military in Cairo, after their Egyptian president was deposed.
A ministry official told Ma’an’s bureau chief that the report was false.
“Ma’an News agency insists that the Gaza Strip is involved in the Egyptian crisis seeking to intensify the incitement in Egypt against the Strip,” the ministry official said.
“Ma’an deliberately publishes false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza. It has become complicit with Egyptian media outlets in incitement against the Strip and making up lies to harm the image of Palestinian resistance,” the official continued.
Commenting on the accusations, Ma’an’s editor-in-chief Nasser Lahham said “some people in Gaza seemingly went mad after the Muslim Brotherhood rule was ousted in Egypt.
“They take any possible occasion to wage tough attacks against Ma’an News Agency for no reason. We have lodged official complaints to the office of the Gaza premier, to the former Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouthi, to the Ministry of Information and to the union of Palestinian journalists.”
And from Al Arabiya:
An office belonging to Al Arabiya television network was shut down by authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Thursday for allegedly reporting “false” information regarding the Hamas leadership.
Hamas authorities said they are going to temporarily close the office and refrain all employees from entering the building, which is located in the al-Ramal neighborhood in the center of Gaza, Al Arabiya’s correspondent said.
The correspondent said that the employees were notified by the authorities they would be arrested if they enter the office, adding that there is a number of other media offices that were also shut down.
“The Attorney General decided to close down Al-Arabiya… in Gaza for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what’s happening in Egypt,” a Hamas official told AFP.
Hamas’ paranoia and fear keeps increasing.