Akram Haniyya

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Date: 1986

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: Akram Haniyya

Confronting Bodies: Israeli censors

Dates of Action: Several incidents in the early 1980's up until 1986, when he was deported from the Occupied Territories.

Location: Jordan

Description of Artwork: The newspaper "Al-Sha'b," which Haniyya was editor-in-chief of, published several articles, which were on topics that had been forbidden. In 1985 he published statements from the President of Sudan on the topic of Jewish immigration, which Israeli officials had repeatedly stated no newspaper should touch on. Another incident came three months later when censors instructed newspapers to ignore an incident involving two young Palestinians who were killed in an auto explosion. Haniyya did not report the event but instead published a death notice. After this al-Sha'b was closed by censors for three days. The paper was also not allowed to cover stories about the West Bank for large periods of time (Despite Palestinian affairs being the purpose of al-Sha'b) due to orders from the censors and was closed down temporarily after the invasion of Lebanon.

The Incident: In December 1986, Haniyya was to be deported from the Occupied Territories. Due to an outdated law that was never revoked, Haniyya was not allowed to see the evidence against him. The charges could be summed up as trying to influence public opinion, which describes Haniyya's job as a journalist.

Results of Incident: In 1995, Haniyya returned to the West Bank during the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. He became editor-in-chief of a new newspaper (al-Ayyam) and gained a position as an unofficial assistant of Yasser Arafat, which protects his journalism from censorship. His political columns are read not only by Palestinians, but also by Israelis and other foreigners today.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.