Security Gag Order to be Removed

Published: April 6th 2010
in News » Israel


In the wake of the security affair resulting in the arrest of Israeli journalist Anat Kam (reported by Shalom Life on March 15), Haaretz journalist Uri Blau has fled Israel for London.


Blau was the journalist who wrote in November 2008 an article in Haaretz newspaper entitled ‘IDF Secret Documents: IDF’s Chief of Staff and elite members confirmed the assassinations of wanted men as well as innocent people.’ The article allegedly includes top secret documents supposedly leaked by Anat Kam, formerly a media reporter for news website Walla! who has been under house arrest since having been charged with leaking the documents while she served as a soldier for the IDF.


An article published by the Guardian on April 2 claimed that Blau has left Israel for London, “apparently for fear he will be targeted for his reporting”. Dov Alfon, editor of Haaretz told the Guardian: “Uri Blau is in London. He will be there until his editors decide otherwise. We are ready to continue to keep him in London as long as needed. Uri Blau published a lot of articles in Haaretz. All of them are dynamite stuff and it is clear of course that the authorities are not satisfied with these kind of revelations in a major newspaper.”


A gag order is still being imposed on the Israeli media preventing it from reporting on the issue, but forums and blogs have been actively discussing the issue for several months. Several weeks ago, the world media, including websites and newspapers, got word of the story and it has grabbed the attention of many media outlets, particularly because of what is seen as irrational censorship being used by the Israeli authorities. An article published April 3 by US journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Judith Miller entitled “Israel's Censorship Scandal” in which she claimed that Israel is sliding towards "Iranian-style censorship" has brought further worldwide attention to the story.


Natan Zehavi, who hosts a popular call-in show on local Israeli radio station 103FM, broke the gag order on Tuesday and revealed details of the story during his show. The radio station subsequently pulled the recording of the program from its website.


Justice Dalia Dorner, president of the Israeli Press Council, said in an interview Tuesday morning on IDF Radio, that the gag order should be cancelled. Dorner argued that since the whole world is now aware of the details of the story and any Israeli can find details through a simple internet search, it is absurd to impose gag orders locally. She called on the Israeli media outlets to appeal to the high courts.


Haaretz along with Channel 10 news have appealed the gag order. Shalom Life has been told that the gag order is expected to be lifted within the next few days.

Related articles: (Walla, Haaretz, Anat Kam, Uri Blau, leaked document)

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