Khan Younis – Press House
On Monday, January 25, 2021, Press House-Palestine (BAS) organized a dialogue session in the topic of “How Journalists Covering the Election Process Professionally & Independently” as part of “Enhancing Free and Independent Media in Palestine” project activities, funded by Norwegian and Swiss Governments.
With consideration of high preventive measures to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19, the session was held in Khan Younis south of the Gaza Strip for a group of journalists and media professionals, also, Mr. Jamil Al-Khaldi, Director of Gaza regional office for the Central Elections Commission, lawyer Abdullah Sharshra, coordinator of the Legal Protection Unit for Journalists at Press House, and Journalist Mohammed Abu-Shahma, participated the session.
Mr. Mohmmed Abu Shahma opened the session saying “an entire generation of journalists, maybe more did not participate any coverage of legislation, presidential or local elections because of political events, also, the journalists in front of high ability in covering the elections process professionally and independently, away from any external influences”.
Mr. Jamil Al-Khaldi said “Elections is the best way for the peaceful transfer of power away from all other forms that strike society” and he stressed on that “the elections will be held according to full proportional representation, but there are legal and internal obstacles, also, the Israeli obstacles, especially if Israel hinder the elections in Jerusalem” at the same side Mr. Al-Khaldi emphasized that media role will not only covering the news of the elections but will also be an essential monitoring entity during the electoral process.
From his part, Lawyer Abdullah Sharshra stated that any guarantees for professional, independent media coverage that consistent with best standards and Palestinian laws requires amending of the legal framework in Palestine, particularly, those laws that hindering Palestinian media professional’s, as well as raising awareness and improving community culture and electoral culture for journalists to become more accepting of the other opinion and respect political pluralism.
The session included many of participations from journalists (men and women), most of those participations focused on the role of journalists during the electoral process covering, and the main obstacles may they will face.