Wednesday, November 05, 2003

A disturbing development for press freedom in Israel.

Haaretz and Reuters report that the Shin Bet secret security service has carried out checks on thousands of journalists holding government press cards.

Israel is the only democratic country where press cards are issued by a government agency rather than by a journalists' organisation but now, for alleged security reasons, the authorities want to be able to decide who can and cannot work as a journalist in Israel.

The concern must be that some correspondents will have their press cards rescinded not because they are a security risk but rather because the authorities don't like what they're writing.

Reporters Without Borders is among the organisations calling for the new rules to be scrapped.


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