Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have issued a vaguely-worded order allowing Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces to jail internet users for posts or articles that hinder “national unity.”
The order is said to have been implemented without any public discussion as the PA continues to block news websites considered hostile to Fatah.
The head of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights describes the new law as `a big setback to the freedoms in the West Bank.`
In June the PA Attorney General is said to have ordered 11 mainly Gaza-based websites to be blocked. They included the Shehab news agency and the Palestinian Information Center.
Over the past month the PA have blocked 30 websites, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (Mada).