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The Case for Israeli Censorship

Ben Caspit writes that even if Israel is, in fact, the only democracy in the world with military censorship, it is also the only democracy continuously fighting for its existence.
An Israeli army officer (C) grabs a camera from Reuters cameraman Yusri al-Jamal as he prevents him from covering news events in the West Bank city of Hebron January 2, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (WEST BANK) - RTR2302T
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The affair of “Prisoner X,” otherwise known as Israeli Mossad agent Ben Zygier, raises anew the issue of censorship, freedom of speech and media coverage in Israel. Well, I am not the bearer of glad tidings. Israel is not a dark place where authorities try to keep vital information from the public through military censorship. Having been posted by my newspaper in New York for four years, I can determine unequivocally that average Israeli newspaper consumers have no less vital information about the goings-on of their government and its military than their counterpart consumers in most Western countries — sometimes much more. Israel is a free country, with a penetrating and free media which taunts authorities no less than in most Western countries and in most cases — even much more so.

By the way, the media in Israel is in the throes of a fight for its life because authorities are trying to hurt it, to confine its movements, to control and silence it, but that is a different issue, totally unrelated to censorship. I shall touch upon it at the end of this article.

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