The end of a two-week long dispute between the Israeli government and the editor of the English section of Ma’An News Agency ended with the editor’s deportation Wednesday.
The International Press Institute reports that Jared Malsin was detained at the Ben Gurion International Airport January 12 after returning from a holiday in Europe.
The Israeli authorities have accused Malsin of entering Israel illegally, “refusal to cooperate,” “lying to border officials,” “exploiting his Jewishness to get into Israel,” and “entering Israel on the basis of lies,” according to Ma’an sources.
The Israeli authorities also noted that Malsin wrote articles from within the Palestinian territories, including reports criticizing Israel. Press freedom groups including IPI, as well as Malsin’s colleagues at the news agency, are concerned that this is the real reason behind his deportation. Ma’an Editor-in-Chief Nasser Allaham told IPI that the Israeli authorities “knew he was a journalist working in the Palestinian media, and they don’t want our English page to be strong.”
A number of journalism and human rights groups condemned the detention and deportation. IFEX provides a history of the case and a list of statements from support groups.
Ma’an was founded in 2005. According to the Ma’an site:
Ma’an News Agency is an integral part of Ma’an Network, a non-profit media organization founded in 2002 to strengthen professional independent media in Palestine, build links between local, regional and international media, and consolidate freedom of expression and media pluralism as keys to promoting democracy and human rights. Ma’an Network is a partnership between independent journalists throughout Palestine, including nine local television stations and nine local radio stations. In addition to MNA, its activities include television, video, and radio production, and training courses for Palestinian journalists and media personnel.