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Hamas raises issue, then retracts, sweeps rules on Gaza press

Gaza's militant Hamas rulers have issued drastic new restrictions on journalists after recent conflicts, but have since withdrawn them, say foreigners in Israeli and Palestinian territories. A group of media representatives said on Tuesday.

Palestinians working with foreign journalists were first informed of the new rules earlier this week in a message sent by the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. They were told not to report on Palestinian rocket failures or Gazans killed by the military forces of Palestinian militants, and were told to blame Israel for the recent escalation.

AP The Foreign Press Association, which represents international media including telecoms, said the guidelines had been withdrawn following consultations with Gaza authorities.

"Such a move would constitute a severe, unacceptable and unjustifiable restriction on the freedom of the press and the safety of our colleagues in Gaza," the FPA said in a statement.

Salama Marouf, head of the Government Media Office in Gaza, confirmed the reversal. "There are no limits," he said. "We welcome all foreign journalists and media to Gaza and invite them to come."

This rule would have gone far beyond existing Hamas restrictions. They appeared to aim to impose narratives of Islamic extremist groups on media coverage of the conflict by tacitly intimidating Palestinian reporters and translators under the hardline Palestinian rule.

Even if the rules were officially withdrawn, Hamas would still show its hopes and could have a chilling effect on critical coverage.

The long-running Israel and Palestine During the conflict, both sides have sought to impose their own narratives and limit negative press. Israel, which claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, has military censors and sometimes imposes gag orders. ing. Israeli authorities also restrict media access to military activities and the country's nuclear program.

Hamas' attempt to silence the foreign media this week came after it quelled its latest conflict with Israel. The decision to stay on the sidelines may reflect Hamas' desire to maintain economic understanding with Israel, which somewhat eased the 15-year blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after their takeover.

After three days of fighting between Israel and Hamas's smaller sister group, Islamic Jihad, after the ceasefire in Gaza was struck on Monday, the Interior Ministry released a written copy of the rules to Palestinians. and applied for an entry permit instead. With instructions for foreign news outlets to communicate them to foreign journalists in their "unique local way."

Hamas, which seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007, requires all visiting journalists to have a local sponsor.

Under the now-revoked restrictions, sponsors were told they had to accompany journalists during their reporting and were responsible for what they produced.

They also fell outside the scope of a journalist's work. of their "suspicious behavior and illogical questions" and to provide Hamas with a full report of what the journalist had done in Gaza. Links to all published works.

The guidelines suggest that writing about prohibited topics, such as rocket misfires, or writing about the media guidelines themselves, may lead to cancellation of local sponsorships. For Palestinian journalists in Gaza, it meant a significant loss of income in a blockaded area where unemployment remained at around 50%.

Many points. So after Hamas took over, Gaza became a safer place for reporters. When Hamas imposed order and put an end to kidnappings and sectarian violence. But as Hamas tightened its grip, as he continued his four wars and countless smaller battles with Israel, restrictions on the media became tighter.

In recent years, Hamas has required journalists to apply for prior approval to film in certain locations, such as Gaza's fishing ports, beaches and gold markets.

Hamas also bans Palestinians from working for or providing services to the Israeli media. Palestinians are also prohibited from interviewing the Israeli press.