Last year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas relinquished direct control of the state media. This week, with Hamas preparing to take over in Parliament, he changed his mind.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: This is On the Media. I'm Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield with this update. This week, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed all official media under his own personal control. Up until now, Abbas and his Fatah Party have left the media largely independent. But the Hamas Party, which takes control of Parliament on Saturday, has threatened to do away with such independence. Fathi Hamad of Hamas declared that it will request that Western music be banned from all Palestinian radio. One employee at independent radio station Gaza FM said that under Hamas they will be required to play the Koran for hours. The station has already received death threats. Abbas' moves on the media follow his appointment of Fatah allies to key governmental posts. It's not clear whether Abbas, who remains as Palestinian Authority chairman, will use his control over the media to protect its independence or as a tool to undermine his political opponents. Hamas has already said it would try to overturn his appointments if it can amass the two-third majority in the Parliament. As for Abbas' seizure of the media, Hamas has decried it as illegal but has not said how it will respond. [MUSIC UP AND UNDER]
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