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Israel advances bill censoring Palestinian content on social media

Social media applications "TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitch" are displayed on a smart phone screen on 30 September 2021 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]
Social media applications are displayed on a smart phone screen on 30 September 2021 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation yesterday approved a draft bill that gives Israeli authorities broad powers to censor Palestinian digital content.

Last Wednesday, Israeli lawmakers provided preliminary approval to the bill; brought forward by MK Meir Yitzhak Halevi from Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope party. The bill would allow Israeli authorities to remove certain posts supporting "illegal activities" from social media sites.

The bill must now go through three more plenary votes.

Under the proposal, a judge would be able to issue an order requiring a content publisher, such as Facebook or TikTok, to remove posts from its website, if law enforcement agencies are convinced that a criminal offence has been committed through the publication of the content.

The law also gives internet service providers broad powers to block sites, including news sites, on the grounds that they "incite or invite incitement", and refer their owners for investigation and prosecution.

The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition and the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council warned of the dangerous repercussions of the law on Palestinian rights.

READ: Israel arrested 390 Palestinians last year for 'inciting violence' on social media

Is Facebook censoring Palestine? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Facebook censoring Palestine? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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