Monday, June 27, 2011

Israel government threathen journalists with 10 year ban

Israeli government openly threatens journalists planning to sail with Gaza flotilla

The Israeli government have threatened journalist who plan to travel aboard an aid flotilla, which is scheduled to sail to the Gaza strip, with a 10 year ban on reentering the country. Furthermore, additional sanctions and the promise of having their equipment impounded have also been stated in a message sent by the Government Press Office director, Oren Helman. This ban is seen as a clear violation of the right to truthful and free media. Journalists should be able to work in an environment that is open and free from threat.

The trip has the intention of breaking Israel’s blockade of the coast. 200 activists from around 20 countries are said to be taking part in a bid to offer humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip. The first flotilla of this kind was attempted last year and was brutally stopped by Israeli commando resulting in 9 deaths and leaving 40 wounded.

The Israeli government stands by their previous interception and assures those aboard that they will block the flotilla a second time. The government sees this attempt as a serious provocation and a violation of Israeli law. Meanwhile, in response to government warnings, the Jerusalem-based Foreign Press Association said in a statement: "The government's threat to punish journalists covering the Gaza flotilla sends a chilling message to the international media and raises serious questions about Israel's commitment to freedom of the press”

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