Palestinian government bans news sites critical of Abbas

The PA blocked 11 news sites it claims publishes “fake news” about Abbas.

The Palestinian government has blocked 11 news websites affiliated with Hamas and other political rivals critical of Palestinian Authority head (PA) Mahmoud Abbas.

An official at the attorney general’s office of the PA said the sites were blocked because they are in “violation of the rules of publications,” which forbids alleged fake news and defamation.

Al Jazeera reported that the sites were shut down following a directive from the PA Attorney General Ahmed Barak.

The editor of the Jordan-based Amad news website, Hassan Asfour, said in a statement that the censorship was due to its “bold reporting” on the Palestinian government’s “dirty deals.”

Hamas on Thursday denounced the PA for blocking the sites.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in the statement that the decision was “a direct assault on freedom of opinion and expression, which reflects the dictatorial approach of Abbas and his authority toward our people.”

Barhoum called on the Palestinian people to confront this “immoral approach” and to work to thwart all of Abbas’ plans to “terrify our people and deny them their freedoms.”

The PA is notorious for its lack of freedom of speech, lack of freedom of the press and its suppression of criticism and dissent.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff