UN expert slams censorship by Israel, Palestinians

AP News
Posted: Jun 19, 2012 5:06 AM
UN expert slams censorship by Israel, Palestinians

A U.N. 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 group can have a chilling effect on the work of journalists and peaceful activists.

Frank La Rue in a report presented Tuesday to the U.N. 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.