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Israel cites Hamas threat to temporarily shut down foreign news channels; starts with Al Jazeera

The Israeli government approves regulations allowing temporary shutdowns of foreign news channels during states of emergency, citing concerns about national security and targeting Al Jazeera.

Amid war with Hamas, Israel approves regulations to shut down Al Jazeera offices over security concerns snt
First Published Oct 20, 2023, 4:09 PM IST

The Israeli government has passed regulations enabling it to temporarily close foreign news channels during states of emergency, citing national security concerns, particularly focusing on Al Jazeera. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi is advocating these regulations to shutter Al Jazeera's local branch, claiming that it has jeopardized national security. The new rules are retroactive, meaning Al Jazeera's broadcasts since the conflict began can serve as grounds for shutting down the network's local operations.

Karhi states, "Israel is engaged in warfare on multiple fronts, and we cannot tolerate broadcasts that undermine the state's security. Al Jazeera's broadcasts and reports are seen as incitement against Israel, support terrorist organizations, and encourage violence."

Under these regulations, the communications minister, with the defense minister's agreement, can instruct TV providers to cease broadcasting the news outlet, close its Israeli offices, confiscate its equipment, and limit or shut down its website based on the server's location.

These decisions require approval from the security cabinet, reliance on legal opinions from security authorities confirming the outlet's national security threat, and scrutiny by a district court.

The initial decision is valid for 30 days but can be extended for additional 30-day periods. These emergency regulations will remain in place for three months or until the state of emergency is officially terminated by the government.

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