Palestinians enjoy freedom of the press on social networks, news websites, and TV and radio stations, a presidential advisor said Thursday.
Sabri Saidam, President Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on telecommunications and information technology, added that press freedom isn’t "steered by any external parties" but rather self-motivated and responsible.
Saidam’s remarks came during a celebration commemorating World Press Freedom Day in Ramallah, organized by Ma’an Network, Watan TV, and the Filastiniyat foundation. The event was sponsored by UNESCO.
"Journalists have allowed everybody to join their commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day because they have always sought to present the truth and offer both sides of the story," he said.
Palestinian journalists, added Saidam, always maintain their unity while politicians are divided and others are bickering. "Journalists' pens and cameras helped protect Palestine," he said.
Nevertheless, Saidam maintained that real change should be made especially in regards to some young Palestinians “who dedicated electronic websites to attack each other.”
Such behavior serves “the occupation’s divide and rule policy,” Saidam said.
Meanwhile resigned prime minister, Salam Fayyad, highlighted that his government was committed to freedom of press. He said several regulations and resolutions related to the media were adopted and several others are pending approval “which is a clear indicator that the government is committed to press freedom.”
It is necessary to use common sense for what is acceptable and what isn’t without the need to refer to legislation, Fayyad said.
In 2012, press freedom improved in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to an annual assessment by Reporters Without Borders released in late January.
Palestine rose eight places to 146 of 179 countries on the Paris-based media watchdog's annual press freedom index, but it still ranked in the bottom quarter of countries.
"An improvement in relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas has had a positive impact on freedom of information and the working environment for journalists," the group said.