Israeli minister calls for ban on Al Jazeera
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.