Well-known Palestinian media personality, Ghassan Radwan, the head of the general authority of publications and publishing in the government's media bureau in Gaza, said that media freedoms in Gaza are broadly allowed with standards and conditions defined by the ministry to establish and license these institutions.
In an interview with Arabstoday, Radwan said that since his appointment back in 2007, his bureau has awarded licences to more than 250 media institutions defined in eight categories, according to their function.
He denied reports of a chaotic situation concerning a backlog of large number of licence applications by media institutions recently, saying: “There is no chaos. There is strong and fair competition between these institutions, particularly between the new and the old ones.”
As for the margin of freedom allowed by the media he said: “We have not rejected any application for a licence during the last period as long as they are working within the provisions of the law. Also, we have not closed down any working institution, even if they that have not finalised their licencing procedures.”
About the conditions for establishing a media institution, he said that the applicant should hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in the fields of media and journalism, have a clean police record, rental contract for the institution's headquarters in addition to some other requirements. "
"All workers of these institution should acquire contracts ratified by the labour ministry, in order to avoid any disagreements arising between the administration and the employees." Radwan added.
"The ministry cannot monitor each and every thing, however it follows up, as much as possible, on the work of the institutions through its inspections section."
Radwan said at the present time there is no law which covers publishing and publications, despite the collective efforts made by media people, universities, and human rights centres to draft laws for this area of communications. However, he gave assurances that the ministry is working within the spirit of the law, calling for concerted efforts and expediting the issuance of a contemporary law that is commensurate with modern media.
He pointed out that the ministry has approved the establishment of 10 media training centres. Radwan explained that these centres will provide low-cost training in all aspects of the media, and there are agreements and memorandums of understanding with them.
With concern to communications with media organisations and handling complaints submitted to the ministry, Radwan was confident that most complaints filed at the ministry have been resolved, although some of them were complicated but have been settled amicably through understanding between the disputed parties.