Israel Political Brief December 14, 2012: Reuters cameramen say Israeli troops assaulted them



Reuters cameramen say Israeli troops assaulted them

Source: JTA, 12-14-12

Two Reuters cameramen accused Israeli soldiers of forcing them to strip, exposing them to tear gas and hitting them….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets With Turkish Journalists: We Want to Restore Relations with Turkey



Netanyahu: We Want to Restore Relations with Turkey

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists, says Turkey and Israel are looking for ways to normalize relations.
Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists

Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Turkey and Israel are looking for ways to normalize political relations, saying, “We want to restore relations with Turkey.”

Netanyahu spoke to a group of Turkish journalists in Jerusalem and his comments were reported by the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

“In a region where instability reigns, Israel and Turkey are two quite stable countries. I believe in [our] common interest,” Netanyahu told the journalists, adding that Turks and Jews have a long history.

The newspaper noted that the conversation between Netanyahu and the Turkish journalists was the first time since the May 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara, which occurred when the ship tried to break the blockade on Gaza and refused to turn aside when ordered to. When IDF soldiers boarded the ship they were violently attacked. Soldiers opened fire in response, killing nine Turkish activists.

The incident caused Israel’s relationship with Turkey, already strained, to break down completely. Turkish leaders demanded an apology, but Israeli leaders refused, saying Israel had acted in self-defense.

Today’s Zaman noted that Netanyahu received the Turkish journalists in the same room where Israel’s National Security Cabinet meets. In the back, behind Netanyahu both Israeli and Turkish flags stood….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2011: PM Netanyahu backing controversial libel law amendment



Netanyahu backing controversial libel law amendment

Source: JTA, 11-21-11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come out in support of a libel law amendment a day after Israeli journalists gathered to protest the bill.

The libel law amendment passed a first reading in the Knesset Monday evening by a vote of 42-31. The measure relaxes the criteria for slander and libel, and more than triples the maximum damages for such infractions.

“As long as I’m prime minister, Israel will continue to be an exemplary democracy, and no one will tell anyone what to think, what to write, what to investigate and what to broadcast,” Netanyahu said Monday at a party meeting.

“We will preserve democracy, the freedom of expression and the rights of minorities,” he added.

On Sunday, reporters, editors and other Israeli media figures met to discuss their opposition to the libel law amendment as well as the upcoming closing of Israel’s second commercial television channel, Channel 10.

Amendment opponents say the measure will limit freedom of the press and stifle investigative journalism, and that the fines are excessive.

Israel drops threat of ban to journalists covering Gaza flotilla

Source: JTA, 6-27-11

Israel has dropped the threat of a ban against journalists who participate in the Gaza flotilla.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered Israeli authorities to formulate a special procedure for journalists who are arrested on board the flotilla, which is trying to evade the country’s maritime blockade of the coastal strip.

The order came a day after the head of Israel’s Government Press Office had threatened to deny entry to the country for 10 years to any journalist who participates in the flotilla.

Netanyahu said in a statement that the policy for journalists covering the flotilla should not be the same as against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally.

Members of the Israeli media and international journalists will be embedded in Israeli Navy vessels in contact with the flotilla “in order to create transparency and credible coverage of the events,” said a statement issued Monday from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Foreign Press Association, which had criticized the threats made to journalists, applauded Israel’s decision.

“We are pleased to see that Israel has recognized the value of allowing reporters to cover an important news event and understands that journalists should be treated differently from political activists,” the association said Monday in a statement. “We urge the government to continue to do its utmost to promote freedom of the press as core values of a democratic society.”…READ MORE

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