Last updated: 6 May, 2012

Palestinian president orders website bans lifted

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has ordered the lifting of a ban on several websites critical of him, according to a statement published by the official news agency WAFA.

The statement, published on Saturday, said Abbas had issued “clear instructions to all organs of the Palestinian National Authority to work to ensure freedom of opinion and expression.”

Abbas instructed the public prosecutor and other officials to reject “the closure or blocking of any website,” and expressed “the need for the lifting of bans or any action contrary to freedom of the media.”

The statement comes after the public prosecutor blocked a number of websites carrying information on internal Palestinian politics which were critical of Abbas.

That decision drew condemnation from Palestinian officials, rights groups and the United States.

Palestinian telecommunications minister Mashour Abu Daqqa resigned in the wake of the decision, but said he was stepping down “for personal reasons.”