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Israel’s seeks emergency law to silence media coverage of Gaza war

October 20, 2023 at 2:31 pm

Smoke rises in Khan Yunis city of Gaza which is seen from the Sderot city as the Israeli airstrikes continue on the thirteenth day of the clashes, in Sderot, Israel on October 19, 2023. [Saeed Qaq – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli government has granted approval for emergency regulations, enabling it to temporarily suspend the operations of foreign news channels, including Al Jazeera, due to its reporting of the ongoing war against Gaza.

According to the Times of Israel, Communication Minister Shlomo Karhi led the charge to pass the regulations in order to shut down Al Jazeera, claiming it has compromised national security.

He said: “Israel is at war on land, in the air, at sea, and on the public diplomacy front. We will not allow in any way broadcasts that harm the security of the state. The broadcasts and reports of Al Jazeera constitute incitement against Israel, help Hamas-ISIS and the terror organisations with their propaganda, and encourage violence against Israel.”

Following the new regulations, the Israeli communications minister, in cooperation with the defence minister, will have the authority to order television providers to cease broadcasting. Moreover, they can also order the closure of the news organisation’s offices within Israel, confiscate equipment and either shut down its website or limit access to it.

Karhi also suggested taking action against any journalist, including those of Israeli nationality, who are considered to be “harming national morale,” reported Middle East Eye.

This could result in searches of journalists’ residences, confiscation of their belongings and being arrested for speech the government deems undesirable.

The decision requires approval by the security cabinet and must rely on legal assessments from the security establishment, confirming that the news outlet has an adverse impact on national security.

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