Israeli Communications Minister Schloma Karhi announced Friday that Israel’s government approved regulations that give them powers to suspend the broadcasting of foreign news organizations during states of emergency. These powers will allow the government to suspend outlets, such as Al Jazeera, from operating during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war if the government believes they threaten national security.
Karhi claims in his message on Telegram, “The closure of the Al Jazeera network in Israel comes after the presentation of evidence that it helps the enemy, broadcasts propaganda in the service of Hamas in Arabic and English to viewers all over the world, and even passes sensitive information to our enemies.”
The minister further said, “Israel is at war on land, in the air, at sea, and on the public diplomacy front.” “We will not allow in any way broadcasts that harm the security of the state … The broadcasts and reports of Al Jazeera constitute incitement against Israel, help Hamas-ISIS and the terror organizations with their propaganda, and encourage violence against Israel.”
The communications minister confirmed that the legislation will make any broadcasters cease operations including the handover of equipment, the shutdown of channels and the revocation of credentials.
These regulations are retroactive, the Times of Israel reported. Broadcasts by Al Jazeera since the Hamas incidents on October 7 and the subsequent declaration of the state of emergency can now be used as grounds to invoke the regulations. The proposal to close down Al Jazeera will be presented at the next meeting of the security cabinet, which must grant its approval for such requests.
Al Jazeera has previously accused Israel of attempting to “silence the media by targeting journalists,” citing an incident where a Reuters journalist was killed and journalists from Reuters, Al Jazeera and AFP were injured by an Isreali airstrike.
Earlier this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom group, urged Israel not to close Al Jazeera saying “ A plurality of media voices is essential in order to hold power to account, especially in times of war.”