Thursday, January 14, 2010
NAAJA protests detention of Bethlehem based Maan News Agency editor
The National Arab American Journalists Association, which is partnered with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, tonight issued a protest to the Government of Israel demanding the release of journalist Jared Malsin.
Malsin was detained and interrogated for more than 8 hours and continues to be in custody on charges of criticizing Israel in articles and columns published by the Ma’an News Agency based in Bethlehem, Palestine.
“Journalism freedoms are essential to Democracy and building of peace. Any action to censor or restrict or threaten or intimidate journalists for the sole ‘crime’ of expressing an opinion or covering stories frowned on by the occupation government is a violation not only of international law but a violation of Israel’s claim to be Democratic and fair,” said Ray Hanania, NAAJA coordinator based in Chicago.
“NAAJA is not only calling on Israel to immediately release Jaslin, but also urging Israeli journalists who claim to be objective and concerned about free speech, Democracy and the accuracy in reporting to also publicly protest the arrest.”
Hanania, a Chicago morning radio host and syndicated opinion columnist whose commentary appears in publications such as the Arab News, the Jerusalem Post and in many newspapers across the United States, said that NAAJA has issued formal letters to Israel’s embassy in Washington D.C., to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and to Israel’s Ministry of Information in Jerusalem.
“When the government of Israel detains journalists on trumped up charges and on censorship, then Israel is basically admitting that they do abuse citizen rights, they do violate international law and they do not respect the fundamental basics that will one day usher in an era of peace,” Hanania said.
NAAJA calls on journalists around the world to speak out against this detention and demand Jared Malsin’s immediate release.
NAAJA has more than 250 members in the United States. The web page is www.NAAJA-US.com.