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On 1 April the Israeli parliament passed a bill allowing the government to issue orders valid for 45 days, temporarily preventing broadcasting and allowing for the confiscation of equipment of foreign media, if the country’s security agencies provide an opinion proving there is a threat to national security. Orders can then be renewed for further 45 day periods, posing harm to press freedom. Last year, the Israeli government approved emergency regulation to shut down critical media, alleged to undermine national security, using the regulation to block access to Lebanese channel Al-Maydeen TV in November.

The same day Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu announced on X (formerly Twitter) that “The terrorist channel Aljazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel”,

The announcement was condemned by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urged the Israeli government not to shut down the Jerusalem bureau of Al Jazeera and to stop using “national security” as an excuse to censor critical media. 

IFJ General Secretary Antony Bellanger said: “The prime minister’s intention to ban Al Jazeera will be a serious blow to media pluralism and the public’s right to know. We urge the Israeli government not to close the Jerusalem bureau of Al Jazeera or any foreign media in Israel, and to stop using ‘national security’ as an excuse to censor critical media. The actions of the Israeli government are unfitting of a democracy.”

Meanwhile the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) report that journalists from outlets including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, RT Arabic, and Al-Araby TV have reported obstructions to their reporting by the Israeli police, military and others since the war began

In January  Israel’s High Court ruled that the country’s military could continue to prevent foreign journalists from accessing Gaza, citing ongoing security concerns after months in which only Gazans or correspondents accompanied by the army were able to report from  the besieged Palestinian territory

Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, the IFJ reports that over 100 journalists and media workers have been killed, several have been injured and others are missing

Photo: IFJ web site.