The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the West Bank-based Palestinian Authorities to release a journalist detained since Monday and the Hamas-led government in Gaza to end harassment of journalists.
Mohamed Eshtewi, Al-Aqsa television bureau chief in the West Bank, was arrested on Monday near a supermarket in the city of Tulkarem following two days of intermittent police interrogation, his wife and brother told CPJ.“Over the past years, he has been arrested nearly 40 times,” the journalist’s brother, Wessam Eshtewi, told CPJ. “Each time, we managed to visit him while he was under arrest and to prompt his release. But unfortunately this time, we are kept in the dark about his detention and are increasingly worried about his health, especially in light of his having heart problems.”
The recurring harassment is partisan retaliation for Eshtewi’s work at the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa, said one local journalist who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.
Hamas, meanwhile, is continuing its longstanding practice of harassing journalists it perceives to be biased in favor of Fatah, according to news accounts. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) reported this week that Hamas security agents prevented photojournalists Samer Labad and Amer Labad from covering the anniversary of the Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza. The police took their identity cards and interrogated them, MADA said.