JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hamas evoked a strong protest from the Foreign Press Association for ordering foreign journalists working in the Gaza Strip to hold press cards issued by the Hamas press office.
The journalists must provide the Hamas press office with information about their Palestinian translators and assistants, and the address of where they will be staying, according to the directives issued Sunday. The new rules are to help with “facilitating and organizing the mission of our foreign colleagues,” the Hamas press office said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Journalists who do not meet the requirements will not be permitted to work in Gaza, the press office said.
The Foreign Press Association on Monday protested “in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”
The association called the new requirements a vetting procedure that would “allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists.”
“The international media are not advocacy organizations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground,” the association’s statement said.
The association said that some foreign reporters working in Gaza have been “harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.”