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Israel hears petition on police tactics against journalists in Jerusalem

Israeli security forces attack a press member during a protest against US President Donald Trump’s announcement to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in Nablus, West Bank on 20 December 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli High Court of Justice will hear on Sunday a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against Israel Police’s targeting of journalists and obstruction of their work in occupied East Jerusalem.

The association filed the petition in July 2017 after the Israel Police prevented journalists from entering the Old City of Jerusalem to cover events that took place after Israel erected metal detectors at the doors of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The petition stated that the prohibition prevented journalists from carrying out their duties, noting that it was not the first time Israel Police used such tactics in times of crisis in Jerusalem, but they increased during these events and in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

According to the petition such practices by the police constitute a serious impediment to the media, journalists and photographers’ ability to carry out their mission.

Read: Israel wounded over 100 journalists since US move on Jerusalem

The text of the petition emphasised that media coverage is the most effective means for the public to criticise the authority, and that informing every citizen of what is happening in reality is critical to maintaining a free market of ideas, especially if the events covered are at the heart of the conflict lived by Israel and affects the political debate, therefore preventing the coverage violates the freedom of expression and the public’s right to obtain information about the authorities’ practices.

The petition stressed that it is the duty of the police to do everything in its power to enable journalists to carry out their important and vital mission and not to prevent them from reaching certain areas or restrict their movement and allow them to be present only in a narrow and specific environment, or suppress them and confiscate their equipment.

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