Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A reminder from the IDF's censor

Dion Nussenbaum of McClatchy newspapers reports:

Today's memo from the Israel Defense Forces censorship office:

1. Real-time reports on the exact locations of rocket hits are strictly prohibited. Reports, on delayed-time, of exact locations must always be approved by the IDF Censor.

2. The IDF Censor will not authorize reports of rocket hits at IDF bases and/or strategic installations.

3. The IDF Censor will not authorize reporting on rockets that fell into the Mediterranean Sea.

4. The IDF Censor will not authorize photographs of rockets with identifying marks.

5. The IDF Censor will not authorize reports regarding visits by senior Israel Government officials and IDF officer in southern Israel.

6. The IDF Censor will not authorize information on exploded terrorist ordinance or any other malfunctioning ordinance.

7. Panoramic, wide-angle, etc. photographs of rocket hits are strictly prohibited.

Please ensure that all staff members are aware of the foregoing.

The foregoing does not obviate the obligation to submit to the IDF Censor – prior to publication – of any news item regarding rocket hits or any other subject that must be approved by the IDF Censor.

On the same topic: "THERE IS no Basic Law guaranteeing freedom of the press in Israel. There is, however, Section 9 of the Law and Administration Ordinance of 1948, which gives the government the power to enact the draconian WWII-era British regulations when a state of emergency is declared. And that’s exactly what the Ben-Gurion government did in May 1948, giving rise to, among other illiberal institutions, the IDF censor. Fifty-five years later, with the War of Independence long over, the country is still under an official state of “emergency.”"

And, on how to become an Israeli journalist: "A year ago I applied for the job of Occupied Territories correspondent at Ma’ariv, an Israeli newspaper. I speak Arabic and have taught in Palestinian schools and taken part in many joint Jewish-Palestinian projects. At my interview the boss asked how I could possibly be objective. I had spent too much time with Palestinians; I was bound to be biased in their favour. I didn’t get the job. My next interview was with Walla, Israel’s most popular website. This time I did get the job and I became Walla’s Middle East correspondent. I soon understood what Tamar Liebes, the director of the Smart Institute of Communication at the Hebrew University, meant when she said: ‘Journalists and publishers see themselves as actors within the Zionist movement, not as critical outsiders.’"