PA journalists call for release of four colleagues

Palestinian journalists on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to release four of their colleagues who are being held by the PA security forces in the West Bank. The journalists said that Abbas's security forces had stepped up their measures against Palestinian journalists in recent months, with some of them being detained, tortured, harassed and threatened. Two of the journalists, Ala Titi and Asid Amarneh, who worked for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aksa TV station, are currently being tried before a PA court in the West Bank on charges of "incitement" against the PA leadership. Another two journalists, Masab Qatlouni and Khalil Mabrouk, remain in detention after being summoned for interrogation by the PA's General Intelligence Force. The Palestinian Journalists' Bloc in the Gaza Strip accused Abbas's forces of perpetrating a "massacre" against the freedom of the media in the West Bank. The group criticized the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Journalists Syndicate for failing to come out against the clampdown on the journalists in the West Bank and said it was planning a series of public protests in the coming days to exert pressure on Abbas to stop the measures against the media.