Activities 2023

Civil Society Organizations Statement Concerning the Draft Law by Decision No. ( ) of 2023: Regulations on Publishing, the Press and Media

Civil Society Organizations Statement Concerning the Draft Law by Decision No. ( ) of 2023: Regulations on Publishing, the Press and Media

Civil Society Organizations Statement Concerning the Draft Law by Decision No. ( ) of 2023: Regulations on Publishing, the Press and Media

We the undersigned Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) have reviewed the draft Law by Decision concerning the regulation of publication and the press, which strangely was discussed and prepared “behind closed doors” without consulting or involving those who will be most affected by its provisions (i.e., the community and media institutions).

During review of the Law, we, the signatories noted that this proposed legislation included provisions that clearly violate international principles and standards related to legislations regulating media and press freedoms that are enshrined in international conventions and covenants including those signed by the State of Palestine and hence must be abided by.  Furthermore, some of the provisions contained in the proposed legislation constitute a constitutional violation of the principles stated in the amended Palestinian Basic Law regarding media rights and freedoms, and freedom of opinion and expression.


Most prominent violations are:

  1. The proposed law contradicts the international standards mentioned in the “Three Part Test” which ensure the accuracy of terms and controls used concerning freedom of opinion and information at the legislative level; bearing in mind that the aforementioned test is usually rigorous in order to promote public freedoms. The essence of this examination is based on the fact that no control mechanism or term of rights must be emptied of its content or be placed at risk. In other words, it must be clearly stated with no room for misinterpretation. It must also serve a legitimate interest, be necessary and familiar, in a democratic society. However, while reviewing the draft, many of the terms and controls contained in its provisions were ambiguous and or full of gaps hence opening the way for the discretionary powers of the executive branch to restrict media freedoms and criminally prosecute and punish journalists and those who openly express their opinion.  Examples include terms such as: civil peace, the historical Palestinian narrative, disturbing relations between states and public morals.
  2. The proposed legislation seeks to strengthen the guardianship of the executive authority, represented by the Ministry of Information and supported by the security institutions, over media, press institutions, research institutions and media websites by enforcing the concept of obtaining approvals for work permits and licenses under the penalty of criminal prosecution. This contradicts the prevalent methods followed under democratic systems where it is sufficient to inform official authorities of the will to establish and exercise media and journalistic activities, a right granted by the "constitutional".
  3. The proposed legislation grants powers to the executive authority to accredit and issue press cards to local and foreign journalists and media workers working in Palestine. This represents a flagrant infringement on the freedom of unions and Journalists’ Syndicates. It also provides opportunities for the security services’ interference in the process of accreditation, work and freedom of journalists in Palestine.
  4. The proposed legislation imposes unjustified guardianship of the executive authority on research and study centers as well as on public opinion centers. This restricts and limits the ability and freedom of CSOs to research and collect public information that enables them to exercise their constitutional right to participate, criticize and hold accountable those who are responsible for setting public policies and managing public affairs and funds.
  5. The proposed legislation allows the executive authority to intervene in the work of the private sector companies that invest in media outlets and press institutions by requiring approval and control over the capital of these organizations and their funding sources. It also requires prior approval for grants, donations and other funding in a manner that contradicts the freedom to practice economic activity, a right stated in the Basic Law. This allows the executive branch to stifle and control media institutions through censorship and approval of funding.
  6. The proposed legislation grants the executive authority the power to suspend and or fully stop the work of a media organization from practicing its activities, which is in violation of paragraph 3 - Article 27 of the amended Basic Law that says: “Censorship of media means is prohibited, and may not be warned, suspended, confiscated, cancelled or restricted except in accordance with the law and by virtue of a court order.”

Based on the abovementioned, the signatories of this statement stress the seriousness of this proposed legislation in terms of infringements and violations it imposes on the freedom of opinion and expression and media freedoms as a whole. Furthermore, the signatories strongly believe that such legislations reflect negatively on the Palestinian cause as a whole and specifically on the extent by which Palestine adheres to the international conventions, charters and treaties that it signed, and hence deserves freedom and international recognition.

Accordingly, we, the signatories affirm our absolute and complete refusal of this proposed legislation, and declare that we will do everything in our power to prevent the government from issuing it by exercising all legal and constitutional means and tools available to us.  


Signatory institutions


Bisan Center for Research & Development

Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling



Media Coalition for Freedoms and Social Justice

Center for the Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights

Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights

Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development

Sharek Youth Forum

Coalition for Accountability and Integrity-AMAN

Teacher Creativity Center

Palestinian Initiative for Deepening Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH

Human Rights and Democracy Media Center "SHAMS"


Arab World Observatory for Democracy and Elections (Al-Marsad)

Popular Art Center

Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession-Mossawa

A.M. Qattan Foundation

National Commission for the Independence of the Judiciary - Istiqlal

Women Studies Center


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