Is­raeli min­is­ter calls for ban on Al Jazeera

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

IS­RAEL’S Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Ay­oob Kara has de­manded that Al Jazeera’s jour­nal­ists’ press cards be re­voked, that ca­ble news providers through­out the coun­try block Al Jazeera’s trans­mis­sions and that the pan-Arab news broad­caster be shut down al­to­gether in Is­rael.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence, from which Al Jazeera was pro­hib­ited, Kara, a mem­ber of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s Likud party, al­leged the news sta­tion pro­duced ma­te­rial utilised by mil­i­tant groups to “in­cite” vi­o­lence.

“Regimes that want to con­trol power will al­most al­ways go af­ter two tar­gets – the me­dia and for­eign­ers. Every­body goes af­ter the me­dia,” noted Rami Khouri of the Amer­i­can Univer­sity in Beirut.

Ai­dan White, the direc­tor of the Eth­i­cal Jour­nal­ism Net­work in Lon­don, em­pha­sised that Kara’s re­marks on Sun­day pre­sented “a full­frontal at­tack” on press free­dom.

“It is a shock­ing state­ment, and it com­pletely un­der­mines Is­rael’s claims to be the only democ­racy in the re­gion, be­cause it gets to the heart of one of the most im­por­tant in­sti­tu­tions of democ­racy,” White said, ad­ding that the at­tack on Al Jazeera was, in fact, “an at­tack on all crit­i­cal in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ism”.

Kara jus­ti­fied the at­tack by cit­ing the fact that Jor­dan and Saudi Ara­bia had im­posed a ban on the news net­work.

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