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Authorities in Gaza and West Bank monitor social media and force journalists to reveal private passwords

     “The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, MADA, published a special report, which put the real state of the internet and freedom of the press in Palestine under the spotlight…
Over the course of the past year and this year [2012-13], the MADA center has been monitoring violations committed against journalists after they posted their opinions on Facebook. In addition, several journalists reported to the center that during their interrogation, the Security Forces tried to force them to reveal their private passwords to their social media networks or email accounts…
The center emphasized that violations against Facebook users and bloggers confirm that the authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are monitoring social network users, and that this surveillance has increased over the past two years, following the success of the revolutions in several Arab countries, especially Tunisia and Egypt, where young people played a central role in coordinating and assembling the masses through social media networks.
Reham Abu Ita, MADA’s public relations chief, said that the violations being committed against journalists and citizens for having expressed their opinions are leading to an increase in self-censorship, which contradicts the raison d'être of platforms allowing citizens and journalists to express their opinions more easily.
She added: ‘In keeping with this principle, the MADA Center demands that all the relevant authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip halt their monitoring of the internet, refrain from harming the right of journalists and citizens to express their opinions in the social media networks and stop violating their privacy by forcing them to reveal their private passwords, and to respect freedom of expression and opinion, guaranteed by Section 10 of the Palestinian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’”
From Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency
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