Journalist Majduleen Hasuna received a phone call from Palestinian Preventative Security Service requesting to summon her for interrogation following her coverage, along with other journalists, of a sit-in held by families of political prisoners in Nablus.
Majduleen refused to go, saying that it falls within the powers of the general prosecutor alone to summon her after notifying Journalists Union.
Majduleen, who turned 20, didn't know that she would easily join the dangerous world of investigative journalism and would be labeled "trouble-maker journalist" that annoys security authorities in the West Bank.
Graduates from media and Journalism College often have few job opportunities and can hardly make ends meet, but Majduleen, who graduated at the top of her class, quickly landed a job for a whole semester as associate teacher at media department at Najah University. Yet she was abruptly fired, as she says, without knowing why.
Majduleen found in investigative journalism the type of professional media work she always looked for. She set out publishing investigative reports that covered the priorities of the Palestinians and tracked down high profile Palestinian officials.
One of her reports dealt with medical errors in Palestinian hospitals, which earned her British Thomson Foundation sponsored award of the best Arab investigative journalist in 2009.
Acts of pressure
Several acts of pressure were exercised on Majduleen to force her stop reporting on corruption and negligence. Such acts included the arrest of her brothers for three days to make her accept attending their investigation.
"I published the subpoena that the security sent to me and took the issue to media and rights groups. Several parties decried the way security forces summoned and pressured me. The subpoena was intended to force me to sign a document in which I would pledge to stop reporting on issues related to the Palestinian authority. I categorically rejected it because as a journalist I have the right to write freely."
Majduleen says she received support from various sides in her battle for media freedom.
“The director of state media center, Gassan Al Khateeb, condemned the way they summoned me as well as the pressure they exercised on me. The center issued a statement calling for authorities to leave me alone."
Abed Naser Najar, dean of journalists, denounced in a statement the security's call for investigation, saying that it has to do with Majduleen's journalistic work in general and her reports on prisoners held in the PA’s jails in particular.
Majduleen says that the reaction of Palestinian Journalists Union "came late after the union felt embarrassed by expressions of solidarity from other Arab and international institutions.
“At first the union absolved itself of any responsibility towards me and alleged the arrest of my brothers was for criminal reasons and had nothing to do with me. It also said that there was nothing it could do to help me."
Career at stake
Al Najar explains his position saying that "when I condemned the arrest of her two brothers the officer in charge told me that the arrest was of a criminal nature and didn't have anything to do with Majduleen's acceptance to show up for investigation."
Majudleen is now completely in the dark about where her case stands and whether she is still on the list of summoned people or not.
"I am convinced the security forces are keeping an eye on me, and now it is becoming more and more difficult for me to get a job in state and local institutions because security forces are after me everywhere. This is why I work with several media outlets as freelance journalist."
With regard to her view on the situation of media in Palestine, she says "there is no media freedom in the Palestinian territories. It takes a journalist to cover issues related to a Palestinian institution to open the floodgates of troubles on him."
"I worked tirelessly on investigative reports which I sent to daily newspapers and people used to tell me you are audacious while our media is coward. Some media ask me to change and edit my reports but I always say no."
Now that Majduleen is denied work at media institutions in her homeland, she is thinking seriously about travelling to Jordan to complete her Masters degree.
According to a report by Mada Center for Media Freedoms, the year 2010 saw 218 assaults against journalists, with a 45 increase from 2009 in which 173 cases of assaults against journalists by Israel and Palestinian security forces were recorded.