The Prime Minister’s Office called on Tuesday an emergency meeting of the Israeli Editors Committee, an informal forum comprised of the editors and owners of major Israeli media outlets, to ask its members to cooperate with the government and withhold publication of information pertaining to an incident that is very embarrassing to a certain government agency.
The Editors Committee was established during David Ben-Gurion’s premiership, and was intended to provide an informal framework for sharing confidential information with the media off the record.
During Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership the annual committee meeting became an open press conference.
Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-On, responding to the move, said, “The phenomenon of journalists volunteering to censor information at the request of the authorities is patently undemocratic. I had hoped that this would have ended decades ago. In a democracy, censorship is justified only out of security considerations, subject to the High Court, which ensures that it is justified and that there truly is immediate certainty of harming [national] security.”
Gal-On demanded that the prime minister and internal security minister appear before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and brief its members on the details of the affair.
“It’s inconceivable that information transmitted to the Editors Committee in order to hide it from the public will not be relayed to Knesset members,” she added.