Godssecret's Weblog


Silencing of the Christians
July 28, 2008, 7:48 am
Filed under: gallery, small news

24/03/2010 01:47

Owner of private channel accuses Ramallah gov’t of silencing the voice of the Christian minority in the Holy Land.

The owner of a private Christian TV station on Tuesday accused the Palestinian Authority of silencing the voice of the Christian minority in the Holy Land by forcing him to go off the air.

Samir Qumsieh, owner and director of Al-Mahed (Nativity) TV, which was founded in Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem, 14 years ago, said PA security officials who raided his station last week told him that the decision to close it down had been taken because he did not have a proper license.

“It’s strange that they are closing us down now after we have been broadcasting for the past 14 years,” Qumsieh said. “This is a breach of freedom of speech and an attempt to silence the media.”

Al-Mahed TV was the only station in the Palestinian territories that broadcast Christian prayer services. The popular station also had a weekly program called The Gospel and Life. Qumsieh is planning to hold a press conference later this week to demand that the PA rescind its decision.

The Christian broadcaster was one of several private radio and TV stations that were closed last week under the pretext that they had been operating without a proper license from the PA’s Ministry of Information and Ministry of Interior.

Most of the stations have been operating for over a decade.

The move drew a wave of protests by the owners and many journalists, who accused the PA government of seeking to silence the independent media in the Palestinian territories.

Some of the owners said they weren’t able to renew their licenses because of the high fees requested by the PA authorities.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate denounced the decision to shut the stations, calling on PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to rescind the order.

The syndicate pointed out that the closures contradicted Fayyad’s promise to defend freedom of speech.

In a separate development, the PA-controlled newspapers in Ramallah and east Jerusalem have refused to publish the results of a public opinion poll that showed that recent charges of financial corruption and sex scandals damaged the popularity of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad.

The poll was conducted by an independent research center headed by Khalil Shikaki.

It showed that 70 percent of the Palestinians believe the allegations made against senior PA and Fatah officials by former PA intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh.

The results also showed that Abbas’s popularity had dropped from 54% to 50% in the past four months.

The three leading Palestinian dailies, Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat al-Jadida, have refused to publish the results of the poll. Editors and journalists at the newspapers said they had received instructions from Abbas’s office to refrain from publishing the findings of the survey, which also indicated a rise in the popularity of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=171669


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