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Press Freedoms Fall in Israel

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In the organizations annual report on Press Freedom, Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) ranked Israel 93rd on the freedom index, a 47 position fall from the previous year. Israel also the title of having the most free press in the Middle East, now falling behind Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. These numbers reflect action taken within Israeli territory. The arrests of five individuals, three journalist kept in detainment, foreign journalists deported and increased military censorship all contributed to Israel's drop in rank.

Externally, in Palestinian territory, Israel was ranked 150th in suppression of press, many of these numbers detailing journalistic mistreatment and suppression in the Gaza strip, particularly during Operation Cast Lead where Reporters Without Borders registered 20 deaths and acknowledges the bombing of media buildings, as well as increased military pressure.

Palestinian-American Ahmad Moagwi, asking his name to be changed for protection as he is currently working in Gaza City, believes that the rank for Israel's suppression of the press should be much greater for Palestinian territories, citing recent incidents of mass detainment of journalists from their homes, closure of media outlets and increased harassment such as having equipment broken and film taken from cameras.

"The IDF has definitely become stricter in regards to journalists, particularly in the age of the internet where media can be uploaded and viewed around the world in a matter of minutes. This access has finally drawn in the international support Palestinians need, because Internationals are allowed to see for themselves. At the same time, it has become more dangerous for us to film that footage. The citizens that were reporting during the media blackout during Operation Cast Lead is a perfect example of that."

The Press Freedom Index is released each year by Reporters Without Borders. The Press Freedom Index ranks countries on a scale of 1 - 175, taking into consideration media censorship, detainment, imprisonment and deaths. The 2009 Press Freedom Index was released on October 20, 2009 and can be viewed at their website, www.rsf.org .

 

Carrie lives in Wisconsin where she is studying journalism.
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