In last-minute bill change, power to shutter foreign media handed to National Security Ministry

National Security Committee head MK Zvika Fogel has made a last-minute change to pending legislation allowing the government to censor foreign media, moving the authority needed to close a foreign channel from the purview of the Defense Ministry and cabinet to the National Security Ministry and Communications Ministry, along with the National Security Committee, Channel 12’s Daphna Liel reports on X, formerly Twitter.

The decision to move the oversight to the ministries headed by Communications Minister Shlomo Khari and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir will not be subject to judicial review, Liel reports, but it can be appealed by parties opposed to the change.

According to the report, the law allowing foreign media to be banned will not be limited to wartime alone.

The law was originally drafted to allow the communications minister to shutter foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the defense minister identifies that their broadcasts pose “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

The law is expected to pave the way for Karhi to follow through on his threat to shut down Qatari news channel Al Jazeera, which he has said is working against Israel’s defense interests and fueling anti-Israel sentiment.

A temporary measure allowing the government to censor foreign media passed its first reading in the Knesset yesterday in a 25-4 vote.

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