Ramallah, The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) issued a report on its most prominent activities and events at the local, regional and international levels during the past year.
The Director General of the Center, Moussa Rimawi, said that last year was distinguished in the Center’s activities and achievements, especially the issuance of the first Press Freedom Index in Palestine. Additionally, there has been a focus and special efforts to promote and defend digital rights, in addition to the focused efforts to form a civil coalition to defend freedom of expression and digital rights.
Regarding the regional and international levels, Rimawi said that MADA Center in and several Arab NGOs launched the MENA Network to Counter Hate Speech, and it participated actively in many international meetings of networks and alliances and international conferences, in addition to providing three oral interventions in the Human Rights Council,
He Added MADA continued to issue its monthly, annually, special reports that are related to media freedoms in Palestine and it continued its legal defense of journalists. Also, MADA continued its efforts in cooperation with civil society organizations and in communication with the government to pass the law on access to information and amending the Cyber Crime Law.
The report included the most prominent activities of the center in the following areas:
1. Monitoring and documentation:
MADA Center continued its work in monitoring and documenting violations against Palestinian journalists, during which the center issued 12 monthly reports, an annual report, and a semi-annual report. These reports monitored the violations against journalists and media freedoms in Palestine. The Center also issued a special report on freedom of publication and violations against journalists on social media sites in Palestine.
2. The Press Freedom Index in Palestine:
The Center prepared Freedom of the Press Index in Palestine, which is the first of its kind in Palestine, and is considered a reference for all those interested in freedom of the media in Palestine, in order to benefit from its important results and recommendations.
3. Legal aid:
Regarding the work of the legal unit in the center, the legal advisor in the West Bank followed (47) cases of journalists, including two female journalists, whose cases were followed up in court within months, and the legal advisor in the Gaza Strip followed (49) cases of journalists, including 4 female journalists.
During the year 2019, MADA Center launched 3 media campaigns, lobbying and advocacy; a digital rights campaign that aimed to educate journalists in particular and the Palestinian public in general about these rights under the slogan “The Internet Is a Right and Not a Commodity”, and the campaign included spreading educational messages through social media sites, publications, advertisements through local television and radio stations, and billboards in various Palestinian governorates, in addition to the meetings that brought together all parties that have a relationship with digital rights to discuss the promotion and protection of these rights.
The Center also implemented a campaign “Women Journalists Have Rights that Must Be Protected”, aimed at highlighting the attacks and violations against Palestinian women journalists during their work, and introducing the reality in which they work.
The Center also launched an international and advocacy campaign to stop the Israeli occupation authorities ‘measures to expel and release the photojournalist Mustafa Al-Kharouf.
MADA Center released a study on The Challenges of Digital Rights in Palestine. The study focused on the group of digital rights and what they represent as part of the human rights system. The study also reviewed the reality of rights in Palestine and the challenges these rights face as a result of the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation and its continuing attacks to pursue journalists. In addition to what these rights need to be promoted and protected at the local level.
6. Workshops and Trainings:
The Center continued to raise the capabilities of journalists through specialized trainings, where it carried out training on campaigning on the issue of digital rights in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which benefited 36 journalists and journalists from various regions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
7. Communication and relationships:
The Center continued its efforts to defend freedom of the press and expression in cooperation with civil society institutions, holding meetings to form the Civil Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights, and held a conference under the title “Freedom of Expression Concerns Us All”, and a round table meeting on digital rights with the participation of civil and governmental institutions and a private sector, participating in meetings of local networks and alliances. MADA also participated in the activities of other organizations and the National Committee on the implementation of Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
MADA participated in a number of regional meetings related to freedom of expression in the Arab region. The most prominent achievements were the launch of the MENA Network to Counter Hate Speech in cooperation with the Gulf Center for Human Rights, Maharat Foundation, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, and the Humena Foundation for Human Rights.
MADA Center participated in many international meetings and conferences, especially providing three oral interventions on the reality of media freedoms, and participation in cooperation with a number of Arab institutions in organizing two events on the challenges facing journalists in the Arab world, and another on hate speech on the sidelines of the last two sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
MADA also participated in the meetings of the unformal International Coalition for the Safety of Journalists (SoJ), the Steering Committee of the World Forum for the Development of Media (GFMD), the International Freedom of Expression Network (IFEX) conference, the Freedom of the Press Conference in London, and the Internet Governance Forum. The Center also received many international visiting delegations and delegations from a number of consulates.
MADA Center sincerely thanks all its partners, supporters and friends who supported, encouraged and financed the activities, and a special thanks to The Open Society Foundation, the European Union, the International Support Foundation, and the Swedish Consulate in Jerusalem. The Finish representative office in Ramallah, IFEX UNESCO, and DCAF, who supported the center’s programs during the past years, or contributed to support some of its activities last year. .
Source: Palestine Center for Development and Media Freedoms