The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly criticized the Israeli government for employing "national security as an excuse" to censor critical media and dissenting narratives
International Federation of Journalists condemns Israel for using "national security as excuse" to censor critical media
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly criticized the Israeli government for employing "national security as an excuse" to censor critical media and dissenting narratives. The condemnation comes in response to Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi's proposal on November 23rd to cease any state-related advertising, subscriptions, or commercial connections with the progressive Israeli newspaper 'Haaretz,' citing alleged "defeatist and false propaganda during wartime."
In a statement, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urged the government to review its decision and lift restrictions on press freedom in the country. The IFJ also expressed concern at the Israeli Government's apparent drift into restricting press freedom and undermining media pluralism and the public’s right to know.
“The proposal is the first to be made against an Israeli media, following the approval of emergency regulations on 20 October, that allows the temporary ban on media outlets alleged to “undermine national security”,” IFJ statement said.
The Israeli government blocked access to Lebanese-based TV channel Al Mayadeen in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on 13 November, for “serving the interests of Israel’s enemies and harming national security,” according to Karhi. Al-Mayadeen TV was the first critical foreign media to be temporarily shut down over “security concerns” since the start of the war in Gaza. A decision that has been condemned by the IFJ.
In a letter addressed to the Cabinet Secretary, Yossi Fuchs, Karhi denounced Haaretz’ stance on the war and called the daily newspaper “an inflammatory mouthpiece for Israel’s enemies”.
Following the proposal of financial penalties against the progressive newspaper, its publisher, Amos Schoken, said: “if the government wants to close Haaretz, that’s the time to read Haaretz.”
Since the start of the war in Gaza, on 7 October, journalists and media outlets have been subjected to mounting pressure and harassment from the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government, Israeli settlers and fellow journalists.
On 2 November, the government refrained from shutting down Qatari news channel Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, as Khari requested, to avoid harming hostage mediation in which Qatar is involved, Israeli media reported.
IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger said: “We are extremely concerned over Israel’s authoritarian drift that undermines media pluralism and the public’s right to know. The Israeli government is using national security as an excuse to censor critical media, whether it is foreign or national, or any discourses that deviate from the official narrative. The IFJ urges the government to review its decision and stop slamming press freedom in the country. We express our solidarity with Haaretz journalists”.