What does the mysterious case of Prisoner X reveal about Israeli censorship?
This week we focus on Israel and the story about one prisoner that revealed multiple layers of censorship. Prisoner X was a suspected Mossad operative-turned-double agent who, in 2010, reportedly committed suicide in an Israeli jail. In cases deemed too sensitive or a threat to national security, the Israeli government can issue gag orders that prevent the media from covering the story, which is what it did in the case of Prisoner X.
But on February 12, the Australian network ABC News released a report revealing the prisoners real name – Ben Zygier – and details of his time in Israel. Grappling to contain the story, the Israeli government issued another gag order to prevent the Israeli media from citing international coverage. But with the story accessible to Israelis via social media, the order proved defunct.
To discuss what this case reveals about Israeli censorship in the age of new media, we speak with Ian Black, the Middle East editor for The Guardian; Ronen Bergman, the senior correspondent for Military and Intelligence Affairs for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper; Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, the head of Media Reform project at Israel Democracy Institute; and Noam Sheizaf, a journalist who writes for +972 Magazine.
This week’s Newsbytes: In Sri Lanka, another journalist from the independent newspaper Sunday Leader is targeted; one of Egypt’s best-known journalists accuses the government of pushing him out of his job; and in the US, why President Obama’s recent golfing trip angered the press corps.
Gideon Levy – Going Against the Grain
In our feature we stay with Israel and look at it through the eyes of one of its most outspoken journalists, Gideon Levy. Since 1982, Levy has been a reporter with the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper. His relentless reporting of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has split Israeli opinion – to some he is a heroic journalist, to others he publishes pro-Palestinian propaganda. We look at the documentary Going Against the Grain by Al Jazeera’s Renee Oudeh.
It has been two months since the fatal shooting of school children in the US, and since then the issue of gun control has been a hotly debated issue in the country. It is a debate that is showing no signs of easing as neither side appear to be listening to the other. Regular viewers of the show will recognise the main character in our internet video of the week – it is Robert Foster from Rap News – the “news bulletin for the discerning viewer”. In its latest video Rap News tackles the gun debate with the conspiracy theorist Terence Moonseed and right-wing General Baxter. We hope you enjoy the show!
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