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Gaza press protest media intimidation

Palestinian offices picketed

JERUSALEM — Gaza’s TV and print press corps picketed the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council Monday to protest what it called attempts by the Palestinian Authority to “terrorize the media” after Al-Arabiya reporter Seif A-Din Shahin was beaten last week.

According to a statement from Paris-based Reporters sans Frontieres, five armed men attacked Shahin as he drove to his office in Gaza City. He was treated for multiple injuries in Gaza Hospital.

RSF said the attack appeared to be linked to Shahin’s coverage of President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement.

It is not the first time staff from the Dubai-based Arabic satellite news channel have come under attack. Last September, a group of men describing themselves as members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades raided Al-Arabiya’s Ramallah office and ordered the journalists to leave town.

At the time, Arafat condemned the incident and promised it would be fully investigated.

According to a recent report by the Vienna-based Intl. Press Institute, there were 310 press freedom violations connected to coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the end of 2000 to May 20, 2003. Israelis were responsible for 82.9% of the violations, said the IPI, and Palestinians 12.5%.

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