UN criticizes censorship in Palestinian territories and Israel

Human rights expert’s report says even Facebook isn’t safe for criticizing Abbas

UN censorship expert Frank La Rue (photo credit: Janwikifoto/Wikipedia)
UN censorship expert Frank La Rue (photo credit: Janwikifoto/Wikipedia)

GENEVA (AP) — A UN human rights expert has criticized restrictions on free speech in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The global body’s independent investigator on freedom of expression says the practice of military censorship and some Israeli laws on funding of non-governmental groups can have a chilling effect on the work of journalists and peaceful activists.

Frank La Rue in a report presented Tuesday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva also criticized the Palestinian Authority for exerting “excessive government control over the media” in the West Bank and reportedly harassing Facebook users for making unfavorable comments about President Mahmoud Abbas.

La Rue says new rules imposed by Hamas requiring foreign journalists to name a local contact when visiting Gaza may result in self-censorship.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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