Facebook Removes Journalist for Posting Articles on Palestinian Corruption

khaledabutoameh2

Khaled Abu Toameh is an internationally respected journalist and is a regular speaker on HonestReporting’s Missions. He is probably the bravest journalist operating in the Palestinian territories today, reporting on Palestinian affairs where others are either too intimidated or in thrall to the Palestinian Authority or Hamas to expose the ills of Palestinian society and its leadership.

The Commentator reports:

Social networking website Facebook has today been accused of attempting to silence critics of the Palestinian Authority as it cracked down on the page owned by Arab-Israeli writer Khaled Abu Toameh.

Abu Toameh, the son of an Arab Israeli father and a Palestinian mother, is a former senior reporter for the Jerusalem Post. He has reported that as of yesterday, his Facebook page had been deactivated.

The Commentator has learned that following complaints from the Palestinian Authority and Jordanian security authorities about his articles dealing with corruption, Facebook had taken the steps necessary to effectively censor his work.

In speaking this morning to us, Abu Toameh noted, “All I have done recently is share some articles which have been in the Jordanian press (in Arabic) about corruption. I am for transparency, against corruption, and yet they ban my account and continue to allow the leader of Hamas to have an account. I am not in favour of terrorism like he is. This is an attempt to silence me. To do this to a journalist is very bad.”

Facebook sent the following pro-forma e-mail to Abu Toameh yesterday evening: “You posted an item that violated our Terms of Use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening, or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.”

That Facebook has effectively censored Khaled and shut down his account is an intolerable interference with freedom of speech and goes beyond Facebook’s Terms of Use.

A petition has been started (by a third party, not HonestReporting) calling on Facebook to rescind its decision and to restore Khaled Abu Toameh’s account.

UPDATE – SUCCESS

We have been informed that Khaled’s Facebook account has been restored without explanation, presumably as a result of public pressure.

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