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  • ACRI

Police violence Against Journalists and Prevention of Press Coverage

Photo by Gil Levin

On June 16, 2024, we sent legal correspondence to the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner regarding the conduct of the police towards journalists and the work of press coverage. In the correspondence, written by Attorney Nitsan Ilani and Freedom of Protest Coordinator Sivan Tahel, we pointed out that in recent times, the police repeatedly prevent journalists from covering various events, sometimes using force, severe violence or false arrests, and in some cases it does not provide them with protection when they are attacked. Many testimonies were attached to the correspondence,  both from the "Flag March" events in Jerusalem and from crowd dispersal events and arrests of demonstrators throughout the country.

In addition to the physical harm to journalists and the lack of police protection for them, we noted that the unacceptable police conduct disproportionately violates freedom of expression and press coverage and the public's right to information, and is even contrary to police procedures. We also warned that infringement of freedom of the press is a key element in the democratic erosion processes undergoing in Israeli society.

In light of the above, we sought to urgently instruct all police officers to act in accordance with the procedures and refrain from restricting freedom of expression and press coverage in the public sphere, except in exceptional cases and for the minimum period of time required. We also sought to establish in the procedures, or clarify by means of written instructions, the obligation to act to protect journalists from harassment and violence, and the prohibition against using violence against them, and to act to investigate the incidents detailed in our inquiry.


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