Committee to Protect Journalists: Israel Ranks 2nd Per Capita in Imprisoned Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists has published its annual ranking of nations who imprison journalists. Israel has the dubious distinction of coming in second in the competition behind Eritrea, one of the most closed societies in the world. Per capita Israel has imprisoned more journalists than Iran.
One aspect of this survey that really bugs me is that they excluded Anat Kamm from the list, possibly because she was serving as an IDF soldier when she committed the “crime” than got her sent to prison (but wasn’t then a working journalist). But Kamm was a journalist and took the documents she did because she recognized their news value and because she knew they proved a crime had likely been committed. She knew these things because she was a journalist. In addition, Uri Blau still faces very serious legal jeopardy because he received and published the Kamm documents. His case has hung over his head for years with no decision in sight.
The other seven journalists in Israeli prisons are Palestinian. Which is why Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times’ newly designated Israel correspondent initially tweeted Israel’s ranking and then apologized after she realized the jailed were “only” Palestinians. In other words, in the mind of a liberal Zionist like Rudoren, Palestinian journalists are unfortunate casualties of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and can’t be seen as actual indicators of the degradation of Israeli press freedom. If I were tweeting now I’d use the hashtag #epicfail.
29 thoughts on “Committee to Protect Journalists: Israel Ranks 2nd Per Capita in Imprisoned Journalists – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The CPJ report says that Hamas has jailed three journalists. Divide 3 by 1.5 million (the population of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip according to the Palestinian Authority) and you have a jail-rate that dwarfs Israel.
Does the CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) article’s failure to mention this indicate anything about the author’s (Justin Martin) agenda? Does Martin’s statement that “Israel, though, wants to be called a modern democracy and gets cranky when critics point out that it is not” tell us anything about his agenda?
Martin does have an anti-Israel bias.
The CPJ report tells us nothing about its methodology: how it conducted its “census,” how it decided who to classify as a “journalist,” etc. Even if it had a reliable methodology for figuring out what journalists were arrested where, the CRJ would still not pretend to be comprehensive; it claims only to be “a snapshot of those incarcerated at midnight on December 1, 2011” that does “not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year.”
The CPJ report tells us nothing about how it examined the charges; there is nothing to indicate that all the persons who were arrested were in fact arrested due to journalistic activity, rather than say, contempt of court or activities on behalf of a terrorist organization. For instance, the CJR report lists Raed al-Sharif as a jailed journalist, while also telling us that Israel has stated that he was detained due to “involvement in terrorist activity.” This is surely relevant to the detention of, for example, Walid Khalid Harb, director of the Hamas newspaper Falastin.
Only Israel and countries like Iran, North Korea and Sri Lanka arrest journalists & call them terrorists. Mazel tov–Israel is in the midst of some real winners.
[comment deleted as off topic–if you are trollish, provocative & snarky just for the hell of it you will end up booted out of here on your ass. Follow the rules, stay on topic & be substantive.
I love how liberal and demorcatic this blog is. Israeli supporters are being censored left and right. Richard, you just don’t have the guts to have free speech. That’s ok. I’m sure this one will be censored too. Happy Easter to you and to your family!
It’s hard for NYT folks to eradicate their own prejudices. so much for our hopes forr rudoren (who is “only” a NYT reporter.) Wonder how many Israeli journalists sit (as others also do elsewhere) in a pseudo-prison of self-censorship, what with the new laws and shifting attitudes in Israel.
Why does Palestine not appear on this list? I know there are at least a few journalists imprisoned by Hamas forces in Gaza. The CPJ website identifies three of them: Ziyad Awad, Mahmoud al-Barbar, and Hani al-Agha. With their relatively small population, wouldn’t that put them in the top ten per capita?
Perhaps, but Palestine is not probably recognized as a country. After all, it’s only Palestinians.
It’s a shame that the said committee can’t distinguish between those who were arrested by Hamas forces in Gaza to those who were arrested in Israel.
You gran this said committee any credibility ? Amazing !
Yes, it’s the world’s most pre eminent press freedom NGO & its work is quite thorough & reliable. Israel has at least five journalists in prison out of 7 million population. That’s still enough to rank it among the most freedom-endangered nations in the world in terms of posing dangers to journalists. You even have an Israeli Jewish journalist in prison which also should concern you.
I agree that the three imprisoned Palestinian journalists in Gaza should’ve been included separately in a tally for the OT. But this doesn’t fundamentally alter the findings which should trouble you if you care about press freedom (which you clearly don’t).
And it’s a shame that you’re so eager to spin that you don’t even read the entry on Israel/Palestine !
Walid Khalid Harb, Nawaf al-Amer, Amer Abu Arafa, Raed al-Sharif, the first four on the list out of seven were all arrested by Israel, just as the ranking posted by Richard shows. The last three were arrested by Hamas, but that doesn’t change anything.
@ Bob Mann
Maybe the fact that Palestine isn’t an independent state. By the way, this week a journalist was arrested in the West Bank for an article on ‘irregularities’ at the Palestinian embassy in Paris.
You talk about spin ?
All 4 journalists were not Israeli citizens, they didn’t work as journalists in the state of Israel, and were arrested for Terror Involvement. They were not arrested for press related issues.
Israeli journalists who defied agreements they reached with the Shabak, are still walking around free, distributing their venom over the pages of a paper that writes one story in Hebrew and omits many of the facts in it’s English translation. I would say that is freedom of press in Israel, is quite good.
I agree that the fact that somebody is a journalist does not confer absolute immunity under all circumstances (and I don’t know the facts of these cases). However, at the risk of stating the obvious, “involvement in terrorist activities” is used extremely arbitrarily in Israel, as a catch all way of detaining pretty much any Palestinian they want (sooner or later it will probably be used the same way against Israelis, I might add – remember “first they came for the Jews”?). Therefore, it cannot be taken at face value.
Israel has quite an enhanced interpretation of “terror activities” when it comes to Palestinians of any kind & observes no respect for press freedom when it comes to them. So saying Israel arrested them for “terror activities” means precisely nothing.
I want to know very specifically if you’re talking about Uri Blau, because if you are you’re banned right now. I expect an answer very promptly and honestly from you. I will not accept anyone making such disgusting claims about one of Israel’s finest journalists who faces many years in prison if prosecuted & convicted. If I do not hear from you with 12 hours you will no longer be commenting here.
What are you Gorge Orwell? You are going to ban me because I dare said that Uri Blau didn’t respect the agreement he signed with the Shabak ? These are the facts you know.
Uri Blau signed an agreement with the Shabak to return all the documents Anat Kaam stole among them operation plans of the IDF (by own admission) the agreement was signed on September 2009, according to that agreement Blau returned some of the documents and his personal computer was destroyed.
During the Interrogation of Kaam, Shabak discovered that Blau in defiance on own agreement didn’t return all the documents; In December 2009 Uri Blau escaped abroad and refused to return the remaining documents. He returned to Israel 10 months later, and returned the documents.
Kaam was the second Female soldier Blau seduced (with promises) to steel documents, the first one spent 35 days in Jail.
These are all facts. If you want to ban me for speaking my mind, which is not a violation of your comment rules (read all of them) be my guest. I think such a move lacks any integrity and will directly reflect on the validity of your voice as part of the Zionist (by own admission) debate.
In a true democracy Uri Blau would be lionized as a professional journalist doing his job. Not forced into exile by goonish secret police. In a real democracy, freedom of the press would’ve permitted Haaretz publishing all the documents it received from Anat Kamm pointing to serious malfeasance & IDF war crimes. In a real democracy, the Supreme Court would’ve refused to allow Yair Naveh to become deputy chief of staff for approving targeted killings in violations of the Court’s directive. In a real democracy, Uri Blau wouldn’t face yrs in prison for doing his job. In a real democracy, the national security state wouldn’t determine what a newspaper can publish & wouldn’t haul journalists off to prison as it did Anat Kamm. In a real democracy, the attorney general would’ve found that Yair Naveh violated the Supreme Court’s ruling against targeted assassinations. In a real democracy, Yair Naveh would face charges for his violation of the rule of law.
But alas Israel isn’t a real democracy, which is why Uri Blau is far more important than the likes of you.
Blau didn’t “seduce” anyone. That language is offensive, false, & unacceptable. Go peddle your wares at Rotter.net. People will love you for it.
If you ever decide you want to be civil and respectful you may return. Till then go spend some quality time with your chums in the secret police.
Over 120 countries have recognized Palestine as an independent state.
Well, you were asking why Palestine wasn’t included, and it was my guess.
Yes, in fact, recently after the recognition by Thailand, 129 countries have recognized Palestine as an independent state, and so what ? Does that make it an independant state ?
I guess you realize that if Palestine were an independant state The-Only-Theocracy-In-The-Middle-East couldn’t just arrest Palestinian journalists arbitrarily, or what ?
@ The Owl of Minerva
Oh, now you’ve read the entry ? In your first post, you stated:
“It’s a shame that the said committee can’t distinguish between who were arrested by Hamas forces in Grece to those who were arrested in Israel”
The committee DO distinguish, and only the four journalists arrested by Israel are listed in the ranking. That’s what I responded to. Now you change the subject…
The four journalists were not Israelis, and so what ? Not enough human to be counted ?
Just in case, but the West Bank is not “in Israel” !
You would say that the “freedom of the press in Israel is quite good”. Where have I heard that before ? When you compare with Saudi Arabia yes. Why don’t you look up the Reporters Without Borders’s annual ranking: Israel is ranked 93 or 96 (within the Green Line) and about 130 in the OT.
Richard wrote an article about that a couple of weeks ago, and the link to the report is there. Israel is ranked far after all Western democracies.
Palestine is included throughout the CJP site, just not on this top ten list that was presented in this article. The respective leaderships of Gaza and the West Bank can and do make their own arrests independently of Israel. These arrests are identified elsewhere on the website. Journalists who are arrested in Gaza by Hamas forces or in the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority ought to earn Palestine a spot on this dubious list.
@ Bob Mann
Why don’t you bring it to the UN ! Together with the recognizion of an independent Palestinian state.
Elia Suleiman was prevented from being nominated for an Oscar some years back. The unofficial ‘excuse’ at the time was: “there’s is no such thing as Palestine” (freely adapted from Golda Meir). Maybe the same people made this list ….
There are at least two articles on Maan News today about arrests of journalists in the West Bank, and a ralley in Gaza denouncing the arrests. In the West Bank, they do the same thing, denouncing the arrests of journalists in Gaza.
The politics of divide-and-rule.
The year after the Suleiman incident that you describe (2003), the Academy changed their position on the subject and films from Palestine can and have been nominated and recognized as such.
That being said, I do not see how something from almost ten years ago with respect to the Academy Awards bears any relation to a list generated this month by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
@ Bob Mann
Fine, so maybe Palestine will be ranked next year on the CJP list, particularly if you tell them about the Elia Suleiman incident…..
In fact why did you ask the question in the first place ? Maybe to draw the attention away from the Israeli ranking….
In the meantime the IDF has raided a media network set up by al-Quds university in East Jerusalem;
“They* are doing all they can to prevent the establishment of a free and independent Palestinain media in occupied Palestinian territory”
* They is the Israelis in this case but could as well be the PA-quislings.
Erratum: The-Only-Theocracy…. should of course have been “The-Only-Ethnocracy-in the-Middle-East”. There are unfortunately plenty of other theocracies too.
Why are you pushing this thing? The point is that Israel ranks highly in terms of jailing journalists and that point is indisputable no matter the methodology, inclusiveness, types of “crimes” etc. The point still stands and Israel is very near Eritrea in these terms.
And that figures: Almost everything about “shared values” and “democracy” about Israel is false, even to the point of ridiculous but you split the hairs and think you are overturning the cart and defending that blighted state. The exceptions here just prove the rule.
Not sure I understand the significance of the ratio between jailed journalists and population of the country. Wouldn’t a more useful metric be the ratio between jailed journalists and total journalists reporting on the country? In any case, no journalist ought to be arrested simply for reporting the news.
Again — When I first paid attention to this site, I was much impressed by your attention to the detail, a very sober dry articulate attention to the detail and I respect that. But, increasingly I am aware that you don’t respond to the substance of the issue. Here, too, you say “no journalist ought to be arrested simply for reporting the news” and that’s it, as though this isn’t about the jailing of journalists in Israel, not in general.
Do you dispute that Israel is badass about journalists who don’t pass muster? Do you think the report conveys something that is essentially untrue?
I think the report itself conveys something that is essentially true. I just think this follow-up post by the person who decided to take the report and present the data as a ratio in relation to the different populations of the countries cited is odd. The report itself is important and ought to be read widely in my opinion.
The blog owner has asked me to move on from discussing this topic so I will respect those wishes and leave it at that.
Thanks — I think that was all the report intended to communicate in the first place. I don’t know (or have time to find out) if the methodology was the best or not, but I did get the message.
Enough, stop beating a dead horse. MOve on to another thread.