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Likud Knesset member calls on Israel's communications minister to shut down news channels

Gottlieb says Karhi should stop ‘hate and lies’

Knesset Member Tali Gottlieb speaks during a Constitution, Law and Justice Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, May 1, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud party Knesset Member Tali Gottlieb appealed to Israeli' Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to shut down broadcasts of Israeli news channels 11, 12, and 13 for “hate and lies” on Sunday morning.

In a post to social media, Gottlieb wrote, “The Minister of Communications has the authority to stop media broadcasts during a special situation and during an emergency in the home front as announced by the government.”

“Mr. Minister, this is the time to silence broadcasts 11, 12, 13 within your authority, according to section 13 of the Bezeq Law,” Gottlieb wrote.

Section 13 of the Bezeq law, which Gottlieb referenced, specifies who is allowed to block media broadcasts and in what cases.

While Gottlieb didn’t give an exact explanation, her comment was allegedly directed at the channels' reporting on Operation Shield and Arrow, which was widely viewed as provocative.

One such example: a Channel 13 news headline which read: “With the approval of the prime minister – women and children were killed in the night attack”.

The communications minister responded to Gottlieb’s post with a tweet of his own.

“My heart is also boiling, but I wouldn't want to live in a country where the communications minister or the government shut down channels that criticize them, even if they cross the line and sometimes confuse friend and foe,” Karhi wrote in response.

Karhi said the solution is reforms to existing laws.

“The solution is my proposed communications reforms, in which the power only rests in the hands of the viewers. They will decide. They will raise or lower. Only them.”

Understandably, many Israeli journalists responded with critical remarks.

Amit Segal, who works for Yedioth Ahronoth and N12 news, one of the channels attacked by Gottlieb, responded: “Each one of us also has the authority to put the thread of Tali Gottlieb on mute.”

Eral Segal, another journalist who works for Israel Hayom and Channel 14 news, often viewed as more friendly to Likud, also criticized Gottlieb’s statement.

Calling Gottlieb’s post “an unfortunate tweet,” Segal said, “freedom of expression must not be violated.”

Gottlieb has a history of making provocative statements, including blaming Supreme Court President Esther Hayut for a terror attack in March. She received a reprimand for that outburst, and was unable to address the Knesset for two plenum sessions.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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