COURT QUASHES BAN ON PRESS PASSES
On 25 April 2004, the High Court of Justice ruled that a ban imposed on Palestinian journalists by Israel's Government Press Office (GPO) was illegal and should be abolished. The court said the GPO had no right to deny press passes to Palestinian journalists who had already received security clearance to enter Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Two media companies, Reuters and Al-Jazeera, had filed separate legal motions challenging the ban.
The Israeli government is appealing the ruling.
The GPO had imposed the ban on Palestinian journalists in late 2001, arguing that all Palestinians should be considered a security threat in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The policy meant Palestinian journalists employed by foreign media were barred from entering the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Foreign media, who rely heavily on Palestinian expertise to do their work, argued that the ban hampered their ability to report the news.
"Press cards are vital for reporters working not only inside Israel, but also in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They are the only press credentials recognised by the Israeli army, which controls movement between Palestinian enclaves," says Reuters.
CPJ, RSF, IFJ and the International Press Institute have frequently raised concerns over the GPO ban.
Visit these links:
- IFJ Report on the Press Ban:
- RSF Report on Israel/Palestine:
- IPI Report: http://www.freemedia.at/intifada.htm
(Map: © Human Rights Watch)