Israel moves to shut down Al Jazeera after new law allows for ‘security threat’ bans on international media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Berlin in 2023.
Published April 2, 2024

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to shut down news network Al Jazeera following the passage Monday of a sweeping law allowing the government to ban foreign networks perceived as posing a threat to national security.

Netanyahu said he intended “to act immediately in accordance with the new law” to stop the Qatari-based news outlet’s activity in the country, according to a post on social media platform X following the passage of the law.

Al Jazeera Media Network, which has produced dogged, on the ground reporting of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, slammed the decision in a statement, vowing it would not stop the network from continuing its “bold and professional coverage.”

The new law gives the prime minister and communications minister authority to order the temporary closure of foreign networks operating in Israel – powers that rights groups say could have far-reaching implications on international media coverage of the war in Gaza.

Its approval by Parliament Monday comes months into Israel’s war against Hamas and as Netanyahu faces mounting public pressure – and large public protests – over his handling of operations in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s government has also long complained about Al Jazeera’s operations, alleging anti-Israeli bias.



RELATED: Israeli government says it will block Al Jazeera from broadcasting

The son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh (pictured) was killed in an Israeli strike in January


Published April 2, 2024

The Israeli parliament has approved a law giving the government the power to ban broadcasts of TV channels including Al Jazeera, the Qatari-owned network.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would “act immediately” to close the network’s local office.

The US expressed concern over the move.

With foreign journalists banned from entering Gaza, Al Jazeera staff based in the strip have been some of the only reporters able to cover the war on the ground.

The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, approved the bill allowing foreign networks considered a threat to national security to be “temporarily” banned.

The ban would be in place for a period of 45 days at a time, which could be renewed. The law would stay in force until July or until the end of significant fighting in Gaza.

“Al Jazeera will no longer be broadcast from Israel,” Mr Netanyahu wrote on Twitter/X, calling the network a “terrorist channel”.

For years, Israeli officials have accused the network of anti-Israeli bias. But their criticisms of the broadcaster have intensified since the Hamas attacks of 7 October. Authorities claim it has close links with Hamas, which Al Jazeera vehemently denies.




Published April 2, 2024

Israeli lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved a law that gives senior ministers the power to temporarily shut foreign news networks that they deem a security risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would ‘act immediately’ in accordance with the law to stop Al Jazeera’s activity.




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