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pte20030321019 Medien/Kommunikation, Politik/Recht

Israel censors websites during Iraq war

Sensitive information must undergo 24-hour check

Jerusalem (pte019/21.03.2003/11:05) - The outbreak of war in Iraq has led to first censorship measures in Israel. The director of the censorship office of the Israeli military (IDF), Rachel Dolev, has issued two letters to two websites discouraging them to publish critical information.

The news sites Rotter and Fresh have received orders to consult the Jerusalem or Tel Aviv censorship authorities before publishing critical material. Both letters were translated and published by the "Federation of American Scientists", an organization dedicated to more transparency in the military .

The restrictions placed on reporting can be summed up in several points. In the case of a missile attack, the sites may not report on the exact point of impact or type of missile. They may also not report on Israeli military operations, cabinet decisions or Israeli cooperation with other countries.

According to "Reporters Without Borders" (RSF) Israel has taken an ambivalent stance toward freedom of the press . The organization places Israel at spot 92 in its world press freedom survey. While RSF says freedom of the press is generally respected in Israel, it condemns Israel's treatment of reporters in the occupied territories, where many journalists have been shot at, threatened, injured or forced to leave. (newsfox-special Iraq)

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