Hamas Deported Journalists, Spokesperson Reportedly Admits

Before deporting journalists who filmed rocket launches, security agencies 'would go and have a chat with these people,' says Hamas official.

AP

A Hamas spokesperson admitted on Lebanese TV Thursday that the militant organization of trying to convince journalists to change their coverage and deported those it deemed to be "collaborating with the occupation."

Isra Al-Mudallal, head of foreign relations for the Hamas Information Ministry spoke to Mayadeen TV via Skype from Gaza. The video of the interview, replete with English subtitles, was released by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The anchorman is seen in the video asking Al-Mudallal how Hamas managed to maintain contacts with journalists during Israel's operation in Gaza, and how Hamas conveyed its point of view.

Al-Mudallal noted that Hamas did not really know who was entering the Gaza Strip, and those who did come in were "fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative," she complained.

"So when they were conducting interviews, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched," she asserted. "Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation. These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip."

Before deporting journalists, however, the Hamas security agencies "would go and have a chat with these people," according to Al-Mudallal. "The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people. They would give them some time to change their message, one way or another," she explained.

"Some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance," she said. "Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral.