‘PA hijacked Journalist Syndicate vote’

Prominent Ramallah reporter says union has become a "branch of Fatah."

By BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
February 10, 2010 05:14
2 minute read.
Palestinian Journalist.

Palestinian Journalist . (photo credit: .)

 
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Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s interference in the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate election held a few days ago.

Many journalists accused the PA leadership of stealing the vote to ensure that Fatah members and security officers took control of the union.

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The journalists said they would not cooperate with the newly-elected syndicate and urged the PA to cancel the vote and hold new a new vote.

Hani al-Masri, a prominent journalist from Ramallah, said there had been “no real supervision” during the voting for the syndicate’s general assembly.

About 300 “journalists” who participated in the election had nothing to do with journalism, he said. “Some of them were members of the Palestinian security forces, while most of the journalists who were registered as members of the syndicate’s generals assembly were actually employees of the Palestinian Authority or political activists,” he added.

Masri also complained that many of the “journalists” who ran in the election or were allowed to cast ballots had abandoned the profession a long time ago and were involved in other work.

He noted that hundreds of Palestinian journalists from Gaza were excluded from the election. “We can’t talk about democratic or legitimate elections while hundreds of journalists from the Gaza Strip were deprived of their right to run or vote,” he said.

Masri and many other journalists said the results of the vote for the syndicate show that it has now become a “branch of Fatah.”


Several groups representing Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip launched a scathing attack on Fatah and the PA leadership on Tuesday, accusing them of “hijacking the vote.”

They described the results of the election, which took place on Saturday, as “illegitimate and non-binding.” They said that they would not work with the newly elected syndicate because its members were chosen solely based on political considerations.

The journalists also urged the Arab countries and the International Journalists Union to boycott the newly elected heads of the Palestinian syndicate.

Imad Ifranji, a veteran journalist from the Gaza Strip who also questioned the fairness of the vote, warned that what happened with the journalists could serve as an indication of what would happen if presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections are held in the Palestinian territories.


Khalil Shaheen, another senior journalist from the Gaza Strip, said the new syndicate does not represent Palestinian journalists because it was chosen by politicians and security commanders beforehand.

“This is a political hijacking of the journalists syndicate,” he charged. “This is an illegitimate body that does not represent the journalists.”

Shaheen added that the results of the vote showed that “the main purpose of the election was not to reform or reconstruct the syndicate, but to turn it into a political body that reports to the political leadership [in Ramallah].”

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