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Bill to close Al Jazeera offices passes second, third Knesset readings

March 28, 2024 at 11:34 am

Colleagues and relatives of Al Jazeera’s journalist Shirin Abu Akile gather at the Al Jazeera’s office in Ramallah, West Bank. [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

A bill to close the offices of  foreign networks that “work against the state”, including Al Jazeera,  passed its second and third reading in  the Israeli Knesset, the Israeli Public Broadcaster reported yesterday.

The draft law, which aims to prevent the operation of the Qatari media network Al Jazeera and similar entities within the occupation state, authorises the minister of communications to take measures against foreign channels which Israel deems to be working against the security of the occupation state, after the approval of the prime minister and the Council of Ministers or the government.

Measures which can be taken against such media companies include: closing their offices, confiscating broadcast equipment, preventing the broadcast of the channel’s reports, removing the channel from the cable and satellite network, and blocking its websites, among other measures.

The bill was proposed by Minister of Communications, Shlomo Karhi, who said: “Despite all the legal blunders and ridiculous balances, we have obtained an effective and quick tool to act against those who use freedom of the press to harm the security of Israel and the army’s soldiers. The law will be approved next Monday in the Knesset’s plenary session, and then we will begin taking urgent measures against a number of foreign channels that harm the security of the state.”

Committee Chairman, Knesset member Zvika Foghel, said: “Approval of this draft law constitutes an important part of the defensive wall of the State of Israel.”

READ: Israel Minister says ‘necessary procedures’ prepared to close Al Jazeera