New York, June 17, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an Israeli court decision to sentence two television journalists on charges of breaching the military censorship law during the offensive in Gaza in December and January.
Khader Shaheen, a correspondent for the Iranian satellite news
television station Al-Alam, and his producer Muhammad Sarhan were sentenced on
Sunday by a court in
Shaheen and Sarhan, who work for the Ramallah bureau of the Al-Alam,
were arrested in January and held for 10 days on charges they reported Israeli
military movements the previous month. The military censorship law enables
military censors to determine what material may not be published; local and
foreign journalists are bound by this law as a condition of operating in
The Al-Alam coverage described troops and equipment being
readied to move into
"We are shocked by this court ruling and call on the Israeli
courts to overturn this excessively harsh prison term on appeal," said Mohamed
Abdel Dayem, CPJ program coordinator for the Middle East and
In December and January, CPJ urged Israel to lift its ban on media coverage of the Gaza offensive and wrote to former Prime Minister Olmert to remind him to abide by the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information of 1995 which urge his government "not [to] exclude journalists ... from areas that are experiencing violence or armed conflict except where their presence would pose a clear risk to the safety of others."