Thursday April 25, 2024

Palestinians denounce ‘censorship’ of social networks

May 13, 2021

Dubai: With accounts deleted on Twitter and content blocked on Instagram, Palestinian social media users say they have been censored from showing the reality of the unrest in occupied al-Quds.

The eastern part of the holy city has been hit with the worst Israeli terrorism since 2017, with assaults centred around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, since Friday. The tensions have since spiralled into a full-scale military confrontation, in which Islamist groups have fired rockets and Israel has launched air raids on targets in the coastal enclave of Gaza.

The tensions, which the United Nations has warned is heading towards "a full-scale war", were triggered by the looming evictions of Palestinian families to make way for illegal Israeli settlers in the al-Quds neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

On social media, Palestinians have widely shared photos and videos of Israeli forces facing off with residents, in what Amnesty International has denounced as an "illegal and abusive use of force" against "largely peaceful" protesters.

Social media remains an important tool for Palestinians, many of whom believe traditional media coverage does not sufficiently capture the reality of the crisis. Sada Social, a platform designed to protect content shared by Palestinians online, recorded 200 restrictions in the past week on matters related to Sheikh Jarrah and East al-Quds.

"This includes the closure of accounts on Twitter or Instagram or the blocking of features on Instagram, such as streaming live videos, or restricting access to content related to Sheikh Jarrah, Gaza or al-Quds," said director Eyad Rifai.