Gaza - Press House
On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Press House – Palestine (BAS) organized a dialogue session on the topic of "The Accountability and Role of Media" as a part of "Journalists Have Power" project, funded by the Government of Canada.
With consideration of high preventive measures to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19, Dr. Tahseen Al-Asttal, Deputy Head of Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, lawyer Abdullah Sharshra, coordinator of the Legal Protection Unit for Journalists at Press House, and a group of journalists, media professionals and lawyers’ participated in the session.
Mr. Hekmat Yousef, Board member at Press House, opened the session and pointed out the important role of Press House in promoting the role of legal accountability of journalists and their right to expression and access to information, as well as raising awareness among media professionals about their rights and legal duties.
From his part, Dr. Tahseen Al-Asttal, Deputy Head of Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, said that it is necessary to stand with journalist and support them in case of any violation, injustice, as all sides emphasize respect for the journalist and his rights, stressing that it is very important to stay away from the media hate speech because it was a major reason in deepening internal differences.
"We must go back to one law, one destination, one community and one country, and not give up this condition, and the profession of journalism must play an important role in this regard," Dr. Al-Astal stressed that accountability is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and journalists have the right to accountability of officials for the services they provide to the public.
Mr. Abdullah sharshra, Coordinator of the Unit, said that the role of media in accountability will only be real if there are three pillars, namely that journalists and media workers should be involved in decision making process related to their profession, as well as that decisions taken by public authorities are transparent, and there is a desire for change and creation a new reality based on rights and freedoms.
Mr. sharshra called for the need to amend the laws concerning journalists in Palestine, the most important of which is the publishing and publications law issued in 1995, noting that there must be a disclosure of information act, so that the journalist can do his part in accountability and get the information he needs in his work.
The meeting included several participations from attendance, which focused on the obstacles facing the work of journalists and legal protection mechanisms.
The participants in the session came up with a number of recommendations, most notably that the law on publishing and publications, which was established in 1995 before the existence of the Palestinian Legislative Council, must be repealed as well as amend the laws in the Palestinian Constitution concerning journalists, and stay away from hate speech media, as well as stand and support the journalist in case of any violation.