Israeli Officials Shut Down AP Live Shot, Seize Equipment For Violation Of Media Law

UPDATED: The Associated Press said that Israeli authorities seized camera and broadcasting equipment and shut down a live shot, contending that the wire service was in violation of a new law restricting Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera is one of the AP’s customers.

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The Associated Press decries in the strongest terms the actions of the Israeli government to shut down our longstanding live feed showing a view into Gaza and seize AP equipment,”

a spokesperson said in a statement.

“The shutdown was not based on the content of the feed but rather an abusive use by the Israeli government of the country’s new foreign broadcaster law.”

The AP said later today that the Israeli government had reversed course and would return the equipment.

The AP had been reporting in Sderot today and its crew was informed that it was in violation of the law. Earlier this month, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu voted to shut down Al Jazeera, citing a law that restricts a foreign media channel “that is acting against the state.” Al Jazeera said that the move also included withdrawal of crew accreditations. banning distributors from transmitting its broadcasts and blocking Al Jazeera’s websites.

In a statement, the Israeli communications ministry said, “After being warned, the Ministry of Communications confiscated a camera of the AP news agency that was broadcasting while trying to trace the activities of our forces, and transferred the footage to the Al-Jazeera station, in violation of the law.

“In accordance with the government’s decision and the order of the Minister of Communications, the Ministry of Communications will continue to carry out enforcement actions as necessary to limit broadcasts that harm the security of the state.”

The AP said that it was broadcasting a general view of northern Gaza and that it complies with Israel’s military censorship rules, “which prohibit broadcasts of details like troop movements that could endanger soldiers. The live shot has generally shown smoke rising over the territory.” The wire service said that it had refused last week to stop live transmissions.

The communications ministry said that the AP had been warned that “they are not allowed to provide broadcasts to [Al Jazeera], but AP decided to continue broadcasting on the channel that causes real harm to the country’s security.”

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