Following sharp criticism over Internet censorship, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday ordered the attorney-general to unblock eight critical websites belonging to Abbas rival Muhammad Dahlan, Army Radio reported.
In the order, Abbas said: "Freedom of expression is a right enshrined in the law, therefore, from here forward, the enforcement agencies will be prohibited from shutting down websites."
Abbas also called on journalists to cover events in a "fair and objective manner."
Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency revealed in April that the PA had
blocked up to eight critical news sites since the beginning of the
The sites, Amad, Fatah Voice, Firas Press, In Light Press, Karama
Press, Kofia Press, Milad News and Palestine Beituna, were blocked for criticizing
Palestinian officials told Ma’an that the order to block the web
sites came from the attorney-general.
Communications Minister Mashhour Abu Daka resigned after accusing the PA attorney-general
of being behind
the decision to block the sites.
Sources in Ramallah claimed that Abu
Daka had been fired for criticizing the decision to block the news
Abu Daka accused the attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, of
“gagging freedom of expression” and said the decision to block the websites was
Most of the affected sites were
believed to be funded and supported by Abbas’s rival, former Fatah Gaza
strongman Muhammad Dahlan.
Abbas has been waging a fierce campaign
against Dahlan for two years after the latter criticized him and his sons. At
the request of Abbas, Dahlan has been expelled from Fatah on charges of
corruption.Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report