Al Jazeera to be banned soon in Israel in unprecedented censorship after months of persecution

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the repeal of a newly adopted Israeli law that would allow the government to shut down foreign media in Israel, targeting Al Jazeera channel. This censorship of one of the last international media outlets able to provide reporting from Gaza since 7 October is unacceptable, RSF says.


“The terror channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel,” Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced in a post on X after the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, passed a law by 71 votes to 10 on 1 April allowing the government to temporally ban “foreign broadcast networks deemed a national security risk,” close their bureaux in Israel, seize their equipment and block access to their websites.

As underscored by the prime minister’s post, the new law above all targets Al Jazeera, one of the few international TV news broadcasters still able to cover the war from Gaza.

“Israel is using every possible method to try to silence Al Jazeera for its coverage of the reality of the fate of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since 7 October. The Israeli parliament's vote to censor Al Jazeera, and Benjamin Netanyahu's defamatory remarks about its journalists are unacceptable. RSF demands that the Israeli authorities end their aggressive harassment of Al Jazeera. Such censorship legislation, under the guise of democratic regulation, implicitly targeting a specific media outlet, creates a precedent fraught with dangers for journalism in Israel.

Jonathan Dagher
Head of RSF’s Middle East desk

After accusing Al Jazeera of being a “Hamas mouthpiece” and repeatedly describing Al Jazeera’s journalists as “terror operatives,” Israel now has the legislative means to carry out its threats to close the Qatari broadcaster’s bureau. This could happen very soon as Likud – the party leading the ruling coalition – has already said the Prime Minister “would act immediately to close Al Jazeera.”

The Israeli government already approved a regulation last November allowing the closure of foreign media, including Al Jazeera. The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad voiced support for this decision at the time, considering that Al Jazeera “endangers” the activities of the Israel Defence Forces. 

Al Jazeera journalists killed, injured by Israel strikes

Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, at least 103 journalists have been killed in Gaza by Israeli strikes, including at least 22 in the course of their work. Three of them worked for Al Jazeera. The journalist Hamza al-Dahdouh – the son of Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza – and his colleague Moustafa Thuraya, were killed by an Israeli strike at the start of January.

“They are taking revenge on us [the Gazan journalists] by killing our children, but that will not stop us,” Wael al-Dahdouh said at the time. A month later, this leading journalist was himself injured by an Israeli strike that killed Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa. In South Lebanon, Al Jazeera correspondent Carmen Joukhadar was one of the six journalists injured in an Israeli strike on 13 October that killed Reuters reporter Issam Abdallah.

Israel already inflicted terrible losses on Al Jazeera before 7 October. Its internationally renowned West Bank correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by an Israeli sniper  while reporting in Jenin on 11 May 2022. A year before that, in May 2021, RSF filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court after Israel air strikes destroyed around 20 media outlets in the Gaza Strip, including the Al Jazeera bureau.

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