Dozens of Arab and Jewish journalists have signed a petition against the government's decision to close down newspapers, web sites, and other media outlets tied to the Northern Islamic Movement, which was banned last week.
As a result of that decision on November 17th, belonging to groups or organizations associated with the Movement is now illegal as well. In recent days, the government has issued closure orders for several media outlets in the Arab sector it says are associated with the Movement. As a result, organizers of the petition said, 46 journalists working for these outlets have been sent home.
So far, closure orders have been sent to four outlets, and more are on the way, government officials said. All of the outlets operate within the 1949 armistice borders.
According to the petitioners, the closure is “collective punishment” and totally unfounded. “It should be noted that all of these outlets have received all the appropriate government licenses and operate within their parameters,” the petitioners said.
“This decision harms the freedom of labor and expression of the journalists, and harms the rights of a large population of Israelis. The proper thing to do in a democratic state is to examine the activity of these organizations and, if a crime is suspected, to file an indictment against them," and not summarily close them down, they insisted.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva after the Movement was banned, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) said that “this decision should have been made long ago. The northern branch helps Hamas and internal terrorism and this decision will send to jail all those who will contact them. It's an organization that pays Arab children to throw rocks.
"An organization that seeks to undermine the State of Israel and supports terrorism. I hope that the decision which states that their bank accounts will be frozen will stop their ability to operate in a crude way, as we saw with respect to the Temple Mount."