Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Israel grants Netanyahu power to block foreign news channels


Published 5 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Netanyahu to ban Al-Jazeera and other news outlets.

Israel’s highest decision-making body, the Knesset, recently passed a new law that gives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the power to shut down foreign news channels if he believes they pose a threat to the country’s security.

According to the Knesset press release, a shutdown can last 45 days and be extended for another 45 days. The law will remain in effect until July 31, or until the end of the war in Gaza.

Under the new law, the minister of communications, with the approval of the prime minister and the government or National Security Cabinet, can decide to stop foreign media broadcasts in Israel, close newsrooms and websites (if the server is located in Israel), and confiscate equipment.

Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he intends to use the new law to prevent the Qatari network Al-Jazeera from operating in the country. He accuses it of being a “terrorist channel” and of being involved in the October 7 terrorist attack.

“Dangerous path”

In a press release, Al-Jazeera responded to the criticism, calling it a “dangerous ludicrous lie” and an “escalating move”.

The new law has drawn criticism from several quarters. Erik Larsson, chairman of Reporters Without Borders Sweden, told the taxpayer-funded Swedish state broadcaster SVT that Israel has embarked on a dangerous path.

– Banning the media is a very dangerous path to take. It is convenient to silence critics. Once you go down that road, you can be tempted to go very far. Freedom of the press is a central part of democracy and this is very worrying, says Erik Larsson.

The law was passed with 71 votes in favor and 10 against.

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