Petition to Netanyahu: Reinstate Journalists Protest Free Press
A protest petition
We, the undersigned journalists, Jews and Arabs, hereby express our protest against the dismissal of some 46 media professionals working in four media outlets in Arab society.
The Security Cabinet declared on 17/11/15 that the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel was outlawed. Following the above announcement the police used their special powers authority and raided associations affiliated with the Islamic movement. Among others they raided the newspaper "Sawt Al-Haq Wal-Hurriya", news site "Palestinians of '48", the news agency "cue Award", the magazine "Asharq". All of these media institutions serve the Arab community in Israel, and were given orders to close and hand over their equipment and materials to the police.
As a result, about 46 journalists in different positions (editors, reporters, photographers and people in production) were given dismissal letters and now have to look for new jobs in the Israeli labor market, which is mostly blocked for Arabs in Israel.
Since their founding, none of these media organizations have received any complaints or notifications from the government indicating that they violated any laws. The first of these newspapers, Sawt- Al-Haq Wal-Hurriya, was founded in 1989.
Moreover, some 15 journalists and reporters of the group who were fired were given a Government Press Office (GPO) card, a card that provides them with government certified credentials. This indicates that the Prime Minister's decision on the matter is political rather than security based. If they posed a security threat they would not have received the GPO card.
This decision violates freedom of profession, freedom of expression and the right of the entire public to know what is going on around them. According to the customary procedure in any democratic country there should have been a notification and investigation that followed proper legal procedures. Moreover the organizations should have been given the evidence proving the alleged existence of a violation of the law.
In light of this, we appeal to the Prime Ministerto cancel the closure orders, which will allow the return of members of the media to their jobs.
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