Thursday, February 16, 2017

Freedom of the Press in Palestine

From WAFA, the official English Language News Agency of the Palestinian Authority comes a piece of news that wants me to buy this novel and read it:

Attorney General says removing controversial novel from shelves is temporary

RAMALLAH, February 16, 2017 (WAFA) – Ahmad Barak, the attorney general, Thursday said his office did not confiscate the controversial novel “A Crime in Ramallah”, but that it temporarily removed it from bookstores until the conclusion of investigation.
The Ministry of Culture said it received a letter from Barak saying his office did not confiscate the novel because such a move requires a court ruling.
However, it added, the attorney general only temporarily removed them from bookshelves until a committee of critics and experts review the book and provide their feedback taking into consideration the level of controversy it has sparked.
The ministry welcomed the suggestion saying it is a sensible way to approach the issue in a way that guarantees freedom of expression and opinion and doesn’t contradict with rules, regulations and relevant laws.
On February 6, Barak issued an order to remove from book stores all copies of the novel written by Palestinian author Abad Yahya because the writer used “indecent texts and terms in a way that violates ethics, morality and general decency, which could have an effect on people, particularly minors and children.”
He claimed the novel “violates Palestinian and international laws of relevance, in particular press and publications law, the Penal Code, the law on the protection of juveniles and children's act, which prohibits publications that encourage behaviors opposing public order and morality.”
Barak also issued an order to summon the author, who was on a business trip to Doha, the publisher and the distributor to carry on the investigation.
Yahya, who previously wrote another controversial novel, “Blonde Ramallah,” criticized the ban on his Facebook page saying, he was “worried and surprised by this decision and all that came with it from interrogation and confiscation.”