A Palestinian man reads a newspaper outside his store in Gaza City September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
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On Sept. 1, half a dozen Hamas security officials called at the home of Mohammad Othman, a young journalist in Gaza who had written several probing articles. They seized two laptops, two mobile phones and took Othman away for questioning. Twenty-four hours later, after what he described as an intense interrogation, the 29-year-old was released, but not before he had been asked to sign a document promising not to criticize Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, or its security services. Despite that, media monitoring and human rights groups say press freedom is under threat in the West Bank and Gaza, with both Hamas and Fatah, the Western-backed party that runs the West Bank, increasingly wary of journalists and bloggers who write critically or seek to expose wrongdoing.The Independent Commission for Human Rights reported that 24 people in the West Bank and 21 in Gaza were arrested in 2015 for criticising Palestinian authorities or writing about forbidden topics.In the West Bank, rights groups say that the number of cases of journalists being harassed is higher.
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