Israeli Media: Bill to Ban Pix of Victims Could Limit Press Freedom

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Uri Makley (left) and Moshe Gafni (Right) have proposed a bill to prevent media from publishing photos of victims without consent. (Credit: Knesset)

Two Israeli lawmakers, Uri Maklev  and Moshe Gafni have proposed a bill banning Israeli media from publishing pictures of “injured or deceased persons without their consent or the consent of their family members,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Maklev and Gafni are United Torah Judaism representatives to the Knesset, Israel’s house of representatives.  Similar to the UK, representatives are called MPs (members of Parliament), Israeli representatives to the Knesset are called MKs.  United Torah Judaism is “an alliance of two ultra-Orthodox political parties,” according to Jewish Virtual Library.

But, the bill has been criticized as possibly blocking press freedom and keeping information from the public, the Jerusalem Post noted.

“Opponents of the bill said it was an attempt to limit freedom of the press and would harm the public’s right to information,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

MK Miri Regev is against the bill because it doesn’t “take into account the way that the media functioned,” for example. “The media reality has changed and it forces us to cope. Anyone can contravene the law tomorrow by taking photos with their mobile phone and putting them up on the Internet,” Regev is quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying.

Likewise, MK and former journalist Shelly Yacimovich “expressed confidence in the media’s self-imposed censorship, rooted in professional ethics.”

“Much of our shared life here is documented in iconic imagery, which makes us feel like part of something whole and significant,” Yacimovich is quoted as saying. “Once media coverage is detached from these events, you will sever the umbilical cord that feeds the public and creates those moments.”

Maklev reportedly defended the bill claiming it “would strike a balance between the public’s right to information and the individual’s right to privacy” as well as “strengthen media ethics, prevent outlets from competing with each other over who has a more bloody photo and present guiding principles to unregulated online news distributors.”

iMediaEthics has written to Maklev and Gafni for more information and will update with any response.

iMediaEthics recently wrote about Anat Kamm, a former Israeli soldier who admitted to leaking “more than 2,000 documents” to daily newspaper Haaretz.

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Israeli Media: Bill to Ban Pix of Victims Could Limit Press Freedom

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