Palestine: Elections highlight need to protect freedom of expression

This statement was originally published on on 17 January 2021.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” welcomes the issuance by President Mahmoud Abbas of a decree to conduct the general Palestinian elections (legislative, presidential and National Council elections), as an entry point to ending the division and fragmentation that the Palestinian people suffered from in various sectors for a decade and a half – and as one of the most important pillars of democracy in any country.

In this regard, we at “MADA” Center would like to point out that the destructive and negative effects of the division were not limited to one aspect of Palestinians’ lives, but rather affected various aspects, foremost among which are public freedoms and press freedom. This was one of the most prominent victims of the internal division and its repercussions, as the political disputes that arose due to the division were a major cause and driver for many violations of media freedom, which were monitored and documented by “MADA” Center.

The absence of parliamentary life over the last 15 years has been accompanied by the issuance of decisions by law without participation and public debate, including, for example, the Cybercrime Law, according to which media freedoms have been violated in many cases. Procrastination continues with regards to the adoption of other important laws for the exercise of free professional journalism, such as the Right to access Information.

“MADA” Center, while welcoming the holding of elections and empowering citizens to have their constitutional right to choose their representatives and participate in public political life, we would like to emphasize the need for everyone to work for the success of this process and the protection of public freedoms, especially press freedom and freedom of expression, which is an indispensable condition for the electoral process.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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