Facebook Photo Sees Palestinian Journalist On Trial

Recently we told how Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites were used widely in the recent political uprising in Tunisia but a story today also shows a negative side of Facebook involvement with politics. A Palestinian TV journalist is set to go on trial and the charge…insulting a public figure.

Apparently Mamdouh Hamamreh, a TV reporter, was tagged in a Facebook photo that is said to ridicule the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, according to Sarah Kessler over on Mashable. Hamamreh was tagged in the photo, reported on by The Jerusalem Post, which featured a Syrian actor, famous for playing a spy in a well-liked TV show, beside the President. The authorities believe that this implies that the President is a traitor.

Hamamreh was detained last Sepember over the Facebook photo but has now been released but the Associated Press reports that he told them he is due to face trial next month. Although it’s said that the TV station Hamamreh works for is sympathetic to Hamas, which opposes Abbas, we cannot say that Hamamreh has been charged because of this, although you are free to have your own opinions. Hamamreh says he was not involved in the publication of the photo but prosecutors assert that he posted it.

Ahmad F Al-Shagra on The Next Web also reports on this story and makes the point that this kind of incident seems to be on the rise in the Middle East with the authorities using such occasions to oppress the people, such is their fear of social platforms such as Facebook. What are your thoughts on this story? Do you think that as well as enabling people to oppose their governments, social networks will also be increasingly used as a form of repression by governments? Let us know with your comments please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/antoinette.raynes Antoinette Raynes

    yes and as soon as the the governments (or anyone for that matter) learn how to use it you can alter reality in a much larger way. This is also the basis of identity theft. several great movies showing how this could play out.

    We then come back to the individual being smart enough to figure out what is real and what is "marketed"

  • Loretta

    An open, democratic government should have no fear of media such as Facebook. The Palestinian Authority is apparently afraid of it because the freedom of speech it offers is a threat to the repressive nature of it's government.
    As more and more people under repressive regimes use social media sites, those governments will undoubtedly try to stop their use.