Back in October 2016, BBC World Service radio devoted over six minutes of coverage to a story produced by BBC Trending about the very brief closure of Facebook accounts associated with two Palestinian online news outlets.
The synopsis to that report (which is still available online) stated that “Palestinians are accusing Facebook of censoring some of their social media posts to win favour with the Israeli government” and that claim was further promoted in the item itself.
“There’s no way it’s a coincidence, especially after there is a big push from the Israeli government to shut down Palestinian inciting for violence online.”
“…we do know that earlier this year two Israeli ministers announced that they were trying to pass laws to make it illegal to incite violence online and at the beginning of September – less than two weeks before the #FBCensorsPalestine campaign was launched – those same ministers met with Facebook officials.”
Three years on, the BBC shows itself to be considerably less interested in the suspension of Palestinian websites when an Israeli connection cannot be implied.
Khaled Abu Toameh reports:
“A Palestinian Authority court in Ramallah has issued an order to block 59 websites deemed critical of the PA and its leaders.
The court order, which was issued on October 17 by the Ramallah Magistrates Court at the request of the PA Attorney General, claims that the websites have violated the PA’s controversial Cyber Crime Law, introduced by PA President Mahmoud Abbas on June 24, 2017.
The court said it found that the websites have published articles and photos that “threaten national security and civic peace.”
The court accepted the PA Attorney General’s argument that the websites have attacked and offended “symbols of the Palestinian Authority.”
The Times of Israel notes that:
“Many of the social media pages and news sites that the official said were blocked are highly critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a number are either connected to or sympathetic to his rivals, the Hamas terror group and exiled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan.”
Given the BBC’s chronic under-reporting of internal Palestinian affairs, it is not surprising that audiences have to date seen no coverage of this story.