Hamas-Fatah divide is affecting local journalism

Palestinian Facebook activists gather in a cafe in Gaza City. More and more young Palestinians are using the Internet and especially Facebook to get their local news. © Thomas Coex - AFP/File

The political fracturing in Gaza and the West Bank, with Hamas and Fatah competing for power, has spread to other institutions – including journalism. This divide has made it extremely difficult for local journalists to report local news and Palestinians are now increasingly looking for their news elsewhere.

The latest institution to splinter was the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), an independent organization established to protect journalistic freedom and ensure objective news for Palestinians locally.  Although Hamas took political power in Gaza in 2007, the union had continued to defend all journalists – whether they were loyal to Hamas or Fatah. That policy was in keeping with the Union’s code of ethics, defining its role as the defender of all media “independent from all sources, custody, censorship, directing, containment and deviance” as an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). But that changed on March 18, when Hamas held elections in Gaza for the Union’s leadership there. No Fatah candidates were allowed.

Read the full story on Your Middle East.

Salim Essaid is a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He can be reached on Twitter (@salimessaid).