New press card rules suspended

first_img to go further News IsraelMiddle East – North Africa WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists IsraelMiddle East – North Africa News Help by sharing this information Organisation News Follow the news on Israel The Israeli government has suspended controversial new press card rulesunder which the Shin Beit secret police would vet all applicants. The headof the Government Press Office, Daniel Seaman, said on 11 November that themeasure, which he announced a week ago and was widely criticised as anattack on press freedom, had been put off so the government could consultIsraeli media chiefs._____________________________4.11.2003Cancellation of strict new press card rules urgedReporters Without Borders expressed great alarm today at new rules in Israel for accrediting journalists, who would have to be cleared by the Shin Beit state security police, and called for them to be immediately dropped as a serious threat to press freedom and flagrant violation of journalists’ rights. The new rules, which would take effect on 1 January, apply to all journalists – foreign, Palestinian and Israeli – working in Israel.”Having Shin Bet approve applications for press cards is totally undemocratic and harmful to press freedom,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. “Already Israel is the only democratic country where such cards are issued by a government agency rather than by elected journalists’ representatives. “Now, for alleged security reasons, the authorities want to decide who can or cannot work as a journalist and therefore bar some Israeli and foreign journalists from covering the Palestinian conflict.”Many Israeli and foreign journalists variously told Reporters Without Borders that the new rules were a “dangerous”, “pathetic,” “hypocritical” or “anti-freedom” attempt to gag the media.Some of the Israeli journalists said the kind of information demanded by the Government Press Office (GPO), such as the name of a person’s grandfather and the topics a journalist would cover, was excessive. They were also outraged that Shin Beit would become, in effect, the press card issuing authority when it was a major Israeli institution liable to media scrutiny.Writing about it would now mean risking cancellation of one’s press card when it came up for annual renewal, they said, so the new rules would automatically intimidate the media.A press card issued by the GPO is needed for any reporting in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, especially for passing through Israeli military checkpoints, so the GPO already has arbitrary power, in the name of “security,” over who covers the conflict in the Israeli-controlled area.The new rules also increase existing discrimination against Palestinian journalists. Section 3H of the GPO’s new rules says “residents or citizens of an area in armed conflict with the state of Israel” will not be issued with press cards. Since 1 January 2002, the GPO has refused to renew the press cards of the vast majority of Palestinian journalists, including those working for foreign media. A press card is not always demanded of journalists working for major Israeli media but foreign and Israeli freelances must have one. GPO director Daniel Seaman’s decision to reduce the number of press cards issued to Israeli journalists shows the government’s intention to pick and choose who becomes a journalist on the basis of secret and even political reasons. This could hit the left and far-left media hard. News November 12, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New press card rules suspended Receive email alerts June 3, 2021 Find out more RSF_en May 28, 2021 Find out more Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes May 16, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more