Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz have been criticised by journalists for not giving them the chance to ask questions during press conferences, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
“Since you have been elected to your positions you have addressed the public in areas related to the coronavirus, restrictions related to the pandemic and other topics,” the journalists said in an open letter. “These addresses are usually conducted as public announcements, and do not allow reporters to ask questions.”
They insisted that they and their colleagues in the media “are not nuisances that need to be cast away, as the Health Minister would clearly agree as he was a senior journalist himself.” Journalists, they added, “serve the public interest and act to ensure the public’s right to know.”
Democratic governments, the signatories pointed out, differ from others in terms of transparency, among other things. “Announcements to the press that are conducted one-sidedly without the presence of reporters and without allowing questions does not advance transparency and does not contribute to building trust in the governmental system.”