Sunday, June 26, 2011

Journalists Just Doing Their Jobs

Israel's Government Press Office has warned journalists that joining the flotilla to Gaza, a.k.a Freedom Flotilla II, is an illegal act, even for members of the press. Anybody on board would be deported, barred from entering Israel for the next ten years, and their equipment would be confiscated.

This is an idiotic policy. By joining the flotilla, the journalists are just doing their job - covering news as it happens. They aren't there to try to break the blockade, just to report about the activists who are. The more respectable news outlets are on the boats, the better. Had there been serious journalists on the Mavi Marmara last year, the world would have probably seen more images of the armed IHH activists.

Israel should not deport journalists. It certainly shouldn't confiscate their gear. We should respect the freedom of the press, including the foreign press.

Update: The government has rescinded the Press Office's warning. Journalists will not be deported and barred from Israel for ten years, and neither will their gear be confiscated. Good. I'm glad the government has come to its senses. It is just too bad that it didn't do the right thing from the get-go. The warning should never have been issued in the first place.

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