Wednesday : 18 / 9 / 2013

National Society for Democracy and Law launched a conference of media and justice in one of the big hotels in Rafah province, the morning of Wednesday, 18th September 2013, under the theme: “Towards a New Mechanisms to Enable Vulnerable Groups to Access to Justice in the southern Gaza Strip”

The conference was in the presence of number of key speakers: Mr. Dawoud El-Massri – Program Analyst within the rule of law and access to justice, Mr. Ghassan Gishawi – lawyer in the Legal Clinic Bar Association, Dr. Mohammed Abu Saada – Vice President of Palestine University and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the university, Mrs. Wafaa Al-Ashqar – Coordinator of gender justice Council, Dr. Fathi Sabah – Chairman of communication and development Institute and a prominent journalist, Mr. SemiaZubaidi – Coordinator of the Media Development Center of BirZeit. Each of the Dr. Nabil Tahrawi and. Wajih Abu Zarifa administered the conference` sessions, the conference included a presentation of the moot court of a group of juveniles who were targeted by legal clinic the implementation period of the project.

The conference came in the framework of the project of “Empowering vulnerable groups legally and promoting access to basic services (EQUALITY),” supported and funded by the rule of law and access to justice program of the United Nations Development Program UNDP/PAPP.

Mr. Ibrahim Muammar – President of the National Assembly for Democracy and Law – opened the conference welcoming the audience with the overwhelming participation of media persons and legal experts, community activists, university graduates, heads of civil society organizations, customary members and a group of community leaders.

Abu Muammar Said in his speech: “We strive through the conference to develop a mechanism for cooperation between the institutions of civil society and media in transferring the truth, also, he added that there is no justice and rule of law without real and true media, and also there is no media without justice and the rule of law, We are working hard to protect the fundamental rights of man that are in a mass need of media to play an active role in this direction to expose human rights violations committed by the occupation against civilians and vulnerable groups  targeting women and children, we look forward to a better role for media in the southern Gaza Strip”.

He also stressed the keenness of the society on the continuity and sustainability of the partnership with the United Nations Development Program in the coming years in order to meet society’s needs for legal aid and work to achieve the rule of law and access to justice among the Palestinian context.

In his turn, Mr. Dawoud El-Massri pointed out that the rule of law and access to justice program will work hard to maintain the partnership with the National Society where it is the unique one for vulnerable groups in assisting them legally, also praised the wonderful and pioneering role of legal clinic`s staff where it significantly contributed in the success of the providing services and work of the legal clinic that left a tangible impact on the Palestinian street.

He also noted during his working paper that all people are equal in front of the law and that legal aid is the most important mechanisms to support access to justice on its three main levels: legal awareness of vulnerable groups / counseling and legal representation before the courts for judicial issues.

He also explained that it is possible to follow the number of beneficiaries and clients through data base program which has been designed three years ago. And legal clinic has worked on developing the skills and abilities of professional graduates lawyers seeking to build a new generation of lawyers in order to get sued and honest lawyer and good understanding within prosecutor for the law.

The rule of law Program has adopted integration approach of the journalists within working in the community through dealing with community media organizations which fought justice oversight experience as well as developing the capabilities of men in the field of informal justice to enable them to develop their in arbitration practices, community mediation and dying it with the color of law to make it working under the supervision of the Legal Clinic.

In the framework of partnerships with civil society, El-Massriconfirmed that the rule of law and access to justice program will work hard to continue their partnership with the National Assembly for Democracy and Law during the next three years where they will work with the new generation of youth who are engaged in the field of justice.

In his turn, Mr. Ghassan Al-Qishawi spoke in his paper about development and legal reform and their relationship to enable vulnerable groups to access to justice where he said that ” the power of the judiciary is not only underline sentences  but lies in the mechanisms of the application and implementation of those provisions, as the slow pace of litigation and judicial procedures which comprises an obstacle in the development process and legal reform where the legal reform comes through the creation of an appropriate environment that improve and repair legal and judicial services, This will achieve progress and professionalizing the judiciary work through the promotion of transparency and accountability as one of the most important tools of control over the justice sector in the context of good governance and to devote good practices.

On the other hand,Dr. MohammedAbu Saadaclarifiedthat there are fourmechanismsfor the realization ofthe right to accessto justice principle including a constitutional provisionforthe appearance ofthis right,the legal cultureof citizens which constitute moreimpactandsignedbythe constitutional textthat pushescitizensto demandthis right. In additiontothephysicalfacilitiesand the presence ofimpartialjusticeto getthis rightand to achievejustice.

In her turn, Mrs. Wafaa Al-Ashqarpointed to the modernity of legal clinic term even within academics and specialists in legal affairs at the beginning of starting work, also she focused on the role it play in changing behaviors and patterns of thinking within vulnerable groups and the legal achievement of the legal clinic over the past years to improve its performance and to provide concrete examples of the legal empowerment and entrench a culture of justice and the rule of law.

In his part Mr. Fathi Sabah- explained the relationship between the media and civil society have developed over the past years but not enough to reach it to the envisaged partnership and complementary, and he hoped to reach this partnership to a higher degree to get to the desired change in the society and transition of citizens lives towards progress and participation in decision – making at all levels: planning, media campaigns, lobbying and advocacy, documentation, publication, the exchange of expertise and services and promote individual and collective initiatives. In addition, at the conclusion of his speech, he stressed that the integrative and comprehensive relationship of partnership between the media and civil society organizations cannot be achieved without the overall media coverage of all the events in the pursuit of universal justice.

For her part, Mrs. SamiaZubaidi spoke about the role of the media for the access to justice, hence the ability of the media should have an influential role to play in the promotion of Palestinian`s access to justice on what the media itself and the nature of its formations, where we find that the Palestinian media can be classified as: a formal government  or party or special media that aims to profit, so the social responsibility and the media`s practical professional determinants has necessarily a top priority. However, there is also a quasi- absence for any role of the media in promoting people’s access to justice, but this is improving thanks to the effort made by the rule of law and justice program, funded by the United Nations Development Program UNDP through the last three years, in partnership with a number of active civil and media institutions in this area.

She cited the weakness reasons of the role of the media due to several obstacles including: lack of legal culture, freedoms decline especially, journalist work, the weakness of trade and union protection and  professional of journalists, weakness and low commitment to social responsibility standards and Seasonality of media coverage.

Zubaidi stressed on ways and mechanisms to work to change this reality and improve the performance of the media as a key player in the process of community change, and justice oversight on justice institutions sector. This can be achieved through the formation of top Media Council, and convert the official media to public service media owned by the state does not control its policies any other hand.

This is important in re-quorum for professional media and its societal role. As well as the enactment of modern organizer law for all media forms, and prevailing a state of respect for the law and resorting to encourage private and public investment in the media sector to establish community-based national professional alternatives.

Finally, everyone stressed the need for the survival of a free and democratic media works to achieve justice for vulnerable groups and strengthen the foundations of good governance in the justice sector including dissemination of means ​​ accountability, transparency and integrity values.