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Affidavit No. 5215/2009

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Sakhr Midhat Naser Abu-al-„Oun, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 916045347, born on 7 December 1964, Secretary of the Palestinian Journalists Association, and a resident of the al-Rimal neighbourhood, Gaza city, would like to declare the following:

I work as the Director of the French Associated Press office and Secretary of the Palestinian Journalists Association in Gaza. I am 44 years old and live in the al-Rimal neighbourhood in the centre of the Gaza city.

I received an invitation from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to take part in the international conference, which is held in a number of Arab countries, including Palestine. I was invited to deliver a speech on behalf of the Palestinian Journalists Association. The conference was scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday, 9 and 10 November 2009. In the context of the conference, IFJ would announce the “Declaration of the Initiative on Ethical Journalism and Developing Media Standards in Palestine”. IFJ also sent invitations to approximately 50–70 journalists and writers and a select number of media activists in the Gaza Strip. According to the invitation, the event would be hosted on Monday morning at the ROTUS Tourist Restaurant, located west of Gaza city. The conference would be held simultaneously in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank via video conference. As planned, myself and other invitees went to the ROTUS Restaurant on Monday morning. As soon as we arrived the restaurant‟s manager apologised that he could not receive us. We were informed that the ROTUS Restaurant‟s management board had received a telephone call on Sunday evening, 8 November 2009, from the Government Media Office in Gaza, stating that the conference would not be held because organisers had not received a permit from the official authorities. Consequently, about 30 journalists held a sit-in demonstration in front of the entrance to the restaurant in protest against this measure. It constituted an assault on our freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly, which are safeguarded by the Constitution.

Thereafter, I received a telephone call from the Government Media Office in Gaza. I was summoned to report to the Office at around 1:00 pm on the same day so that officers could inquire about the conference supervisors. The officers in charge at the Office informed me that the IFJ conference would be prevented because it had not obtained a permit. As they said, coordination did not take place with the Government Media Office.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5215/2009
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 10 November 2009
  • Name: Name not withheld
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