By JEREMY HAJZERA and JERIMA KHALEMUHIRIM The Israeli government is preparing to announce the execution of six Palestinian journalists.
It has promised to end the rule of the occupation’s official media outlets and open up to the media the right to broadcast.
The government will announce the death sentence for a journalist named Ali Abu Saeed and the execution sentence for four other journalists, including a cameraman named Ahmad Qawasmeh, in the coming days, the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) in Ramallah, Ghassan Al-Saleh, told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
The decision will be taken in a cabinet meeting, and will be publicised, he added.
The announcements are the latest move by Israel to close off the media outlets it deems critical of the rule, including the independent newspaper Al-Jazeera and the independent news website Palestinian Media Watch.
Israeli officials say the move is aimed at shutting down the independent media outlets, but critics argue it is a violation of Palestinian sovereignty.
The Israeli military has said that it has closed down more than 200 media outlets since January 2016, including Al Jazeera, Al-Aqsa TV, Al Jazeera English, Al Hayat newspaper, Al Aksa TV, the Arab-language website Al Watan, the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, and Al Jazeera Arabic.
Since 2015, Israeli authorities have also closed down Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, the Palestinian news channel that the Palestinian Authority has designated as a terrorist organisation.
The new move is likely to come after months of negotiations between the government and the Palestinian leadership, in which Israel and the Palestinians have tried to agree on a framework for closing down the media.
Israel has tried to force the Palestinian government to allow the media to operate under its authority for more than a decade, and has used the media as a propaganda tool to push its policies.
Israel has been using the media for its political purposes, such as the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, and as a tool to pressure the Palestinians to accept Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.
Israel is also holding the media accountable for publishing images of the Israeli soldiers on its territory.
Last year, Al Haq newspaper published a photograph of an Israeli soldier in Gaza, which sparked protests from Palestinians and others in the region.
Israeli authorities say that the new media outlets will not only have a right to freedom of expression, but will also be able to report on the Israeli occupation, as well as its policies, including illegal settlements, settlements in the West Jerusalem area and settlements in East Jerusalem, which Israel considers illegal.