Guardian

UPDATED information on Guardian claim regarding Israeli press card requirement


EDITOR’S NOTE on April 23:  This post was amended after we learned, per the Israel Government Press Office, that journalists are indeed required to sign a ‘censorship form’ to obtain a press card.  The mistake was made when we conflated Israeli courtgag orders‘ (which journalists are NOT required to abide by in order to receive a press card) with the ‘censorship document’.

We apologize for the error.

….

Majd Kayyal, an Arab-Israeli journalist and web editor at the NGO Adalah, was released to house arrest late last week, days after being arrested on suspicion that Hezbollah attempted to recruit him while he attended a conference in Beirut.  

Additionally, a media row over the news ensued when the New York Times revealed that it had abided by the Israeli gag order on Kayyal’s arrest and didn’t report the story until the order was lifted last Thursday.

Roy Greenslade, the Guardian’s media blogger, published a story about the incident on April 22 titled New York Times obeys Israeli gag order over journalist’s arrest.

Here are the relevant passages in Greenslade’s story:

The paper’s delayed publication of the story about the detention of Majd Kayyal (see below) was revealed by its public editor, Margaret Sullivan.

She quoted the NY Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, as explaining that the acceptance of gag orders is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land.

Sullivan also consulted in-house lawyer David McCraw, who evidently described the situation as “somewhat murky”. She quoted him as saying: “The general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media.”

Similar issues arise when US news media organisations cover the British courts, he said.

Sullivan was clearly unconvinced by the argument advanced by her paper’s bureau chief, saying that she found it “troubling” that the NY Times should have to wait for the Israeli government’s approval before deciding to run a story.

A “little transparency would go a long way”, she said, and the the story should have informed readers what had happened. Perhaps Jodi Rudoren, who became bureau chief in May 2012, was being overly cautious. Her task is hardly easy as she explained earlier this month in an interview with Hadassah magazine.

Then, in a subsequent passage, Greenslade makes the following claim:

My understanding is that although foreign journalists who want to obtain a press card in Israel are required to sign a censorship document in order to obtain a press card, in practice few submit their copy on security issues to the censor.

However, his suggestion that foreign journalists are required to sign a “censorship document” in order to obtain an Israeli press card seemed questionable in light of this passage from the NYT article by Sullivan:

The Times is “indeed, bound by gag orders,” Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past.  (An earlier version of this post said that The Times agrees to abide by gag orders as a prerequisite for press credentials, but Ms. Rudoren told me today that that is not the case, although it was her initial understanding.)

Per Jodi Rudoren, foreign journalists are evidently NOT required to abide by ‘gag orders’ in order to obtain a press card.  

However, as we later learned, the ‘gag order’ is not the same as a ‘censorship document’, so our conclusion in the original version of this post – that Greenslade got it wrong – was not correct.  

This post (and the original title) has been revised accordingly. 

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30 replies »

  1. Roy didn’t get it wrong. In order to obtain a press card, foreign journalists are required to sign a form saying they will submit stories to military censorship if required. I’ve signed it many times myself.

    • Mr. McGreal could you point out in Greensdales’ article the expression “if required”?
      And any word about in which situations are they required to submit their articles to the military censor? Have you ever heard about the foreign media reckless and irresponsible publications about Israeli military moves and the exact locations of the Katyusha hits in the second Lebanon war eight years ago?
      This is very embarrassing that me – whose mother tongue is not English – must to teach you what the expression “lie by omission” means…

    • CIF Watch is wrong. Journalists must sign a form stating they will submit what they publish to military censorship as required. Does not mean they all do it, but they still have to sign the form.

        • Revealing that there is a gag order of the fact that some people are being imprisoned in Israel, like Australian national ‘Prisoner X’ or this journalist, has nothing to do with disclosing where rockets have fallen, and everything to do with raising some possible violations of human rights.

          • Defending war crimes, but accusing of violating human rights – quite typical for ethnicised human rights activists, formerly called völkisch Bewegte.

    • So, then what did the NYT mean when they said this? “(An earlier version of this post said that The Times agrees to abide by gag orders as a prerequisite for press credentials, but Ms. Rudoren told me today that that is not the case, although it was her initial understanding.)”

      • Adam, if you did a modicum of research you would discover this on the Israeli government press office website on the requirements for press accreditation for all journalists includes a “signed censorship form”.
        “In the online form you will find a tab for Attachments – this is where you should attach your photo (for new applicants), your letter of accreditation or proofs of work, your signed censorship form and your confirmation of payment (Every application for a GPO card requires a nonrefundable payment of NIS 50)”

        The censorship form includes the following: “All written material, photographs and recordings dealing with security and defense matters intended for transmission abroad, must be presented to the Censor’s Office.”

        It’s here: http://gpo.gov.il/English/presscards/Pages/GPOPressCards.aspx

        So Roy Greenslade was entirely correct when he wrote: “My understanding is that although foreign journalists who want to obtain a press card in Israel are required to sign a censorship document in order to obtain a press card, in practice few submit their copy on security issues to the censor.”

        • How arrogant you are – you who choose to write for a scurrilous blog in which authors regularly exaggerate, ignore the distinction between opinion and fact and state the former as the latter.

          And note that even you quote Roy Greenslade as saying “My understanding is…..”

          Supposing his understanding is mistaken?

        • All written material, photographs and recordings dealing with security and defense matters intended for transmission abroad, must be presented to the Censor’s Office.”
          Interesting. A country threatened by wars and mass terrorism censors materials dealing with security and defense matters published by foreign journalists.
          If you did a modicum of research (and some self examination of your own moral abilities) then you would know that you and your employer is involved lying about and demonizing Israel, Greenslade’s lie by omission is an excellent example.

        • This is the difference between the Guardian and a Blog – doing research and checking facts. Two minutes online or a quick call to any foreign correspondent are enough to see that journalists are indeed asked to sign a military censorship form in Israel – foreign correspondents and Israeli journalists alike.

          • ,a href = “http://www.theguardian.com/info/2014/apr/15/vatican-hires-hawk-protect-doves-pope”>Guardian is doing research and checking facts
            Removed: Vatican hires hawk to protect pope’s doves
            An agency story about the Vatican recruiting a hawk to protect the Pope’s doves was deleted on the 15 April 2014 because it was discovered to have been an April fools’ joke.

          • “This is the difference between the Guardian and a Blog – doing research and checking facts”
            Correct ‘Pete’.
            That is why “The Guardian” has to so often apologise, issue corrections and retractions because it does not check facts or carry out research correctly.

            Read the link below and scroll down to ‘More on this story’ for other examples.
            http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/guardian-apologises-former-sun-managing-editor-richard-caseby-over-polly-toynbee-article

  2. Since Greenslade’s article is not open for comments, does that represent the Guardian’s gag order directed at its readers?

  3. I just checked with the GPO. Greenslade is right. A censorship document does need to be signed to obtain a press card. Jodi Rudoren was referring to a ‘gag order’, which, I’ve since learned, is something different. I’ll revise this post accordingly.

  4. A bit of censorship is necessary bearing in mind the sympathy some British hacks harbour for terror against Jews and the tacit support of terrorists f.e. when labelled as political prisoners by The Guardian.
    The Palestinian side would immediately negotiate if it had not the financial, military, mass media and political support of oily money states, Arab states, Muslim states, OIC, OPEC and corrupt traitors, useful idiots, fundamentalistic multiculturalists in the west.
    This reminds of the fellow travellers and communist/trotskyst parties in the west of the Cold War past, all anti-Israel fanatics.

    • A bit of censorship may be necessary but in this internet/satellite age it is totally futile. Look at what is happening in Turkey now. The only result is that the censors end up looking like total idiots.

      • On the other side, military relevant and terror preventing measures are quite important issues for a state in war with a lot of terrorist organisations and dictatorships and should not be disclosed to the enemies.
        “All written material, photographs and recordings dealing with security and defense matters intended for transmission abroad, must be presented to the Censor’s Office”

  5. Getting back to the arrest of this particular Israeli journalist, it should be pointed out that other Israeli journalists travel regularly to Arab countries – including Lebabon – notably Ron Ben-Yishai and Boaz Bismuth (they use foreign passports). BenYishai is a senior correspondent for Yediot Aharonot and Bismuth, formrely with Yediot, was Israeli ambassador to Mauretania from 2004 to 2008. Ben-Yishai meets and interviews members of Hizbullah, various Palestinian organizations, etc, on all of his trips. I don’t recall that they were ever arrested upon their return from these forbidden countries.

  6. What is it? Is the censorship form required to be signed or not? Was Guardian right or not? Was the blogger correct in accusing the Guardian article to be lying? Who is required to be apologize to whom? Some honest reassessment is required on part of the blogger.

    • Jim, I don’t know what you’re unclear about. The post was revised accordingly to honestly reflect the facts. You can see the update in the intro above. Additionally, the Guardian blogger updated his post to note a small error.

      http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/apr/22/new-york-times-israel

      “NB: This posting was amended at 8.15am on Wednesday 23 April to make clear that Sullivan should have referred to court rather than government approval.”

    • Don’t worry Jim the Guardian is lying, and Greenslade’s assertion was a lie by omission. But i don’t expect any apology from the Guardian, lying about Israel and the Jews is there bread and butter. Did Julius Streicher apologise before has been hanged?

  7. Dim Jim on April 15, 2014 @ 3:17 PM over on the thread “The Guardian plays crooked lawyer for the Palestinians” I asked you a question.

    Are you going to answer it?

  8. So Gerald what is the answer? Are Palestinians journalists in occupation a demographic threat to the Zionist entity? I expect an answer.

  9. When journalists play political activists, they are no longer journalists, Natzie Pampers.