PA minister resigns in protest over censorship

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Palestinian Authority Minister of Communications Mashhour Abu Daka resigned on Thursday apparently in protest over his government’s censorship of websites critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Although for public consumption Abu Daka said he quit for “personal reasons,” he resigned shortly after accusing PA Attorney-General Ahmed al-Mughni of blocking the critical websites and violating the freedom of expression.

Sources in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Abu Daka had been fired for criticizing the decision to block a number of news websites.

Abu Daka accused Mughni of “gagging freedom of expression” and said the decision to block the websites was illegal. The Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency said that the PA has blocked up to eight critical news sites since the beginning of the year.

More ominously, over the past few weeks PA security forces in the West Bank have arrested five journalists, bloggers, and a cartoonist for criticizing Abbas and exposing corruption scandals.