Israeli Minister Orders Return of Seized AP Equipment

Israeli Minister Orders Return of Seized AP Equipment

Israeli officials seized AP equipment over alleged violation of new media law by supplying visuals to Al Jazeera network

media equipment seized

Israeli officials seized Associated Press (AP) equipment in southern Israel, accusing the news organization of violating a new media law by providing images to Al Jazeera, a Qatari satellite channel. The confiscation occurred on May 21, 2024, in Sderot, under a document signed by communications minister Shlomo Karhi. 

Israeli authorities seized equipments from the US news outlet, alleging a breach of a recent media statute for supplying visuals to the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network.

The equipment was broadcasting views of northern Gaza, complying with Israel’s military censorship rules. AP refused a verbal order to cease live transmission, prompting the seizure. The communication ministry defended its actions, citing the need to limit broadcasts that could harm state security. 

Before their equipment was seized, the AP was showing a live feed of famine-stricken northern Gaza, where Israeli forces were still launching ground and air attacks. 

Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized the move, calling it "an act of madness," especially given AP's American affiliation. Minister Karhi defended the government's right to seize devices broadcasting Al Jazeera content, highlighting the law's unanimous passage. 

However, the communications minister of Israel has directed the return of a camera and broadcasting equipment confiscated from The Associated Press (AP) news agency in southern Israel.

This incident follows Israel's shutdown of Al Jazeera's offices, equipment confiscation, and broadcast ban earlier in May. Media groups have raised concerns about press freedom implications. Al Jazeera criticized the decision as a "criminal act".

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