IDF forms committee to determine who’s a military reporter
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IDF forms committee to determine who’s a military reporter

Army’s decision follows Times of Israel petition to High Court of Justice over alleged preferential treatment given to other news outlets

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis enters his new position during a ceremony at the army's Tel Aviv headquarters on May 18, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis enters his new position during a ceremony at the army's Tel Aviv headquarters on May 18, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The army’s spokesperson unit on Thursday formed an advisory committee in order to determine who qualifies as a military correspondent, following repeated complaints from The Times of Israel of discrimination in that process.

Military correspondents recognized as such by the Israel Defense Forces receive preferred treatment from the spokesperson’s unit, including regular briefings from senior officers, information about breaking news before other journalists and other benefits.

This year, The Times of Israel filed a petition with the High Court of Justice in order to get its military correspondent, Judah Ari Gross, recognized by the IDF, a petition that the army said served, in part, as the impetus for the decision to form the external advisory committee.

“The committee was formed in order to put together recommendations about the criteria by which the IDF spokesperson responds to media outlets and correspondents who cover military issues,” the army said in a statement.

“The committee will be needed, inter alia, for the claims that were raised in petitions to the High Court of Justice about the significance of being in the military correspondents’ corps, about the way in which responses are handled by the IDF spokesperson, and in order to strengthen the transparency and fairness between the IDF spokesperson and the journalists who cover military issues,” the IDF said.

The committee will be led by a retired Supreme Court justice, Ayala Procaccia, and its members will be former IDF general Yossi Baidatz, veteran journalist Dan Margalit, media scholar Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler and former defense minister spokesperson Ofer Harel.

The committee is expected to make its recommendation within six months. During that time, the committee will be able to speak with relevant figures “in order to help their work,” the army said.

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