Behind a Firewall: Repercussions of the PA ‘Electronic Crimes Law’

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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ADDAMEER has published a new FACTSHEET about the presidential decree entitled the ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ issued in June 2017.

Over the past month, the Palestinian Authority has increased the pressure on journalists and voices of dissent within the West Bank. This attempt to silence dissenting voices was formalized in the form of a Presidential decree entitled ‘The Electronic Crimes Law’.

Since it has been issued, 30 or so websites have been blocked for access by West Bank IP address, six journalists have been arrested, and four others have been brought in for questioning based on social media posts.

The websites banned are primarily associated with Hamas, or the exiled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan; and the journalists who have been arrested have been primarily associated with Hamas.

As stated in the Fact Sheet,

“The fact that these websites are run by political rivals to the current ruling faction of the PA indicates that that these laws are being and, will continue to be used, to stifle free speech, legitimate decent, and discussions regarding the state of politics in Palestine.

Addameer confirms that the PA is legally bound to respect and fulfill the right to freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the ICCPR. The PA must also guarantee that any of its laws attempting to criminalize or otherwise regulate using any type of information technology complies with its international obligations.

Furthermore, Addameer urges that the Palestinian Authority must abide by the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”