Friday, September 16, 2011

Freedom of the press, PA-style (plus a funny video)

From Ma'an:
A Bethlehem journalist is facing trial after the city's governor filed a complaint against him for "slander and defamation."

George Canawati, director of Bethlehem Radio 2000, was summoned to the Palestinian Authority Prosecutor-General's office on Sunday after he criticized local medical services in a report.

Bethlehem governor Abdel Fattah Hamayel summoned Canawati to his office and requested he remove critical comments from the Sept. 8 report on his Facebook page, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said.

Canawati's report detailed indifference and neglect at the health directorate and noted Israeli-made juices provided at a health department meeting, contravening the Palestinian Authority’s call to boycott Israeli products.

The Bethlehem radio-journalist told MADA he had removed the Facebook notes prior to the charges.
Can there be any worse slander than the existence of Israeli juices at a department meeting?

Actually, he claimed the juices were from "settlements." But the juice was Tapuzina, which is a popular Israeli drink that can be found all over the PA-ruled territory. So it is unclear if he was complaining that the health department would have Israeli drinks, or if he really thought it was from the "settlements." Which makes the reaction from the governor even more perplexing.

Perhaps the department should have come up with creative ways to hide the illicit Israeli drinks, as this young woman did in this funny ad for the product:

(h/t GH)