Israel's security cabinet passes resolution to shut down foreign broadcasters

Emergency media regulation on Gaza war mentions the Lebanese channel Al Mayadeen, but not Qatar's Al Jazeera, which reportedly could face a ban

Journalists report from a vantage point overlooking northern Gaza. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Israel's security cabinet approved regulations that would allow the government to close foreign broadcasters who allegedly harm national security.

A statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said it had authorised action against Lebanese pro-Iranian channel Al Mayadeen for “making wartime efforts to harm (Israel's) security interests and to serve the enemy's goals”.

The decision comes as Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi pushed for the Qatari Al Jazeera and Lebanese Al Mayadeen networks in Israel to be closed, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post.

The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah has taken part in several attacks against Israel following their strikes on Gaza with Al Mayadeen airing reports from inside Israeli territory.

Following the Israeli security cabinet decision, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi was working with police on a proposed blocking of Al Mayadeen websites and seizure of equipment linked to the station, a ministry representative said.

Israel has signalled it will hold off on a threatened closure of the local bureau of Al Jazeera, leaving the powerful Qatar-owned satellite station unmentioned in a government decision about emergency media regulations for the Gaza war, Reuters reported.

The omission pointed to a balancing act by Israel, which has been angered by Qatari ties to its arch-foes Iran and Hamas. However, it is looking to Doha to persuade the Palestinian militant group to free scores of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, said the report.

Last month, Israel's National Security Adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi publicly thanked Qatar for its role in negotiations to secure the release of some of the 240 hostages inside Gaza, around half of whom have foreign citizenship.

But Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has condemned Qatar for not doing enough on the issue, saying Doha “finances and harbours Hamas leaders”.

A directive issued to the media by the Israeli Chief Army censor – a role created to combat foreign propaganda – requires all media outlets to submit all materials related to the activities of the Israeli army and the Israeli security forces, before broadcast.

The list of topics that need prior permission for coverage includes the identification of troops, preparation of the forces including assembly areas and placement in the field, troop movements, duration of the military operation, stocks of equipment and ammunition and operational successes and difficulties.

Updated: November 14, 2023, 6:08 AM