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UN rights office slams Israel's new law 'restricting media freedoms'

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published April 03,2024
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File Photo)

The UN human rights office on Wednesday criticized Israel's new law on foreign news outlets, calling it "another restriction to media freedoms."

"New law which allows to temporarily close foreign news outlets in Israel, alongside ban on journalists entering Gaza, is another restriction to media freedoms," the office said on X.

It underscored that "unhindered journalists' work is "essential for transparency and accountability."

Israel's Knesset on Monday passed legislation allowing the closure of the Al Jazeera television in the country.

Under the bill, the communications minister will be empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the defense minister identifies that their broadcast poses "an actual harm to the state's security."

Following the passage of the law, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi vowed that the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera channel would be closed down "in the coming days."

Early Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "immediately act to close Al Jazeera" following the bill's passage in the Knesset.