CPJ concerned by rising pressure on journalists in Israel

New York, February 8, 2016 – The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports indicating rising pressure from the Israeli government on the foreign press. Last week, the head of the Government Press Office threatened to revoke the credentials of reporters for inaccurate headlines.

“As a democracy that upholds freedom of expression Israel should not threaten to revoke press credentials of reporters who publish stories or headlines the government may not like,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said in New York. “It is virtually impossible to work as a reporter in Israel and the occupied territories without a press card. The threat of withdrawing accreditation is a heavy handed approach at stifling unwelcome coverage.”

An Israeli Knesset sub-committee will meet on Tuesday to consider foreign media coverage, according to the Foreign Press Association, which said on its website that it would make a submission to the subcommittee, highlighting the importance of government credentials and the level of influence the government already has on reporters.

Also last week, Knesset members and a representative of the Israeli Defense Forces accused journalists of orchestrating events in order to negatively portray Israel, according to the English-language daily, The Jerusalem Post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The text has been modified to reflect that the source of the information about the Knesset subcommittee is the Foreign Press Association.