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Reversing course, Israeli official orders return of confiscated AP broadcast equipment

May 21, 2024 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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ISRAEL — HOURS AFTER EQUIPMENT BELONGING to the Associated Press was confiscated and its live feed ordered halted, the international news agency seems to have won a victory. The Biden administration, journalism organizations and an Israeli opposition leader denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, placing pressure on the U.S. ally to reverse the decision. Israel’s communications minister Shlomo Karhi — the same person who had earlier signed a directive to confiscate the equipment — late on Tuesday, May 21, ordered the government to return a camera and broadcasting equipment it had seized, thus reversing course. The Israeli government had accused the AP of violating a newly passed media law that prohibits news agencies from providing images to the satellite channel Al Jazeera, which had already been banned.

The Associated Press has a long-established compliance with Israel’s military censorship rules, which prohibit broadcasts of details like troop movements that could endanger soldiers, and instead pictures of the general area. The media law’s enforcement in this case pertained to Al Jazeera’s being an AP client.

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