February 24, 2024

StartBannerSticky 13Military Chief Censor Kobi Mandelblit has told senior IDF officers that he was being pressured by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block reports without a national security justification and that Netanyahu wanted to remove him, Haaretz reported on Wednesday. fake-br-for-article-body13Mandelblit stated that the pressure was coming from Netanyahu, National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi, and military secretary Avi Gil, two senior officials told the newspaper. fake-br-for-article-body13According to the report, a few weeks ago the prime minister called the chief censor together with Hanegbi and Gil and requested that he make the regulations for disqualifying the publication of reports stricter. Mandelblit claimed that the requested changes did not have any security justification and that the pressure being placed on him to make the changes was “extraordinary.” fake-br-for-article-body13At least one of the reports Netanyahu’s office requested to block involved a private matter concerning the prime minister and his wife. Mandelblit wrote in the reasons for the disqualification that the report was blocked for the security of the couple. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, November 25, 2023 (credit: GPO/AVI OHAYON)13Netanyahu attempting to limit military censor’s discretion13In recent weeks, Netanyahu tried to promote a law that would limit the discretion of the military censor during the war and require many more reports to be blocked, according to KAN news. He claimed that the censor was approving reports that harmed national security, according to the report. fake-br-for-article-body13In recent days, several Israeli journalists have publicly complained about discrimination by the military censor, saying that reports they wanted to publish were blocked for them but allowed for other news outlets.13Journalist union questions impartiality of censor13On Tuesday, the Union of Journalists in Israel sent a letter to Mandelblit saying that it had recorded three recent cases in which reports by one news outlet were rejected, while the same reports were approved for other outlets. fake-br-for-article-body hide-for-premium Advertisementfake-br-for-article-body13″We understand that in a security situation, certainly during wartime, it is of great importance to maintain the security of the country, and the censor is one of the tools that help in maintaining this. At the same time, the accumulation of three cases within a few days raises the suspicion that there is a preference for one media outlet over others,” said the union. fake-br-for-article-body13″It should be emphasized that even in days of significant security events, such as these days, the public’s right to knowledge is a supreme value and so is the freedom of the press. The desire and importance of maintaining the security of the state should also be taken into account and carefully considered when using such a heavy tool as a publication ban, which is in the hands of the military censorship.” fake-br-for-article-body13The union asked the censor to explain how it intends to ensure that such cases are not repeated. “It is worth remembering that even in times of war, it is of the utmost importance to strengthen public trust. This discriminatory conduct harms trust and may cause the news outlets to be less strict with the censorship rules and damage the public’s trust.” section1313