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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Bans ‘Al Jazeera’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Bans Al Jazeera
Courtesy of: Four Freedoms Awards

On April 1, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a ban on international news outlets, the biggest among them being Al Jazeera.  Less than a week later, the law was ratified.  With foreign journalists being banned in Gaza to Israel banning Al Jazeera, the world’s access to the war is limited.  The Qatari company has been the only outlet with journalists based in both Gaza in Israel.  Now that they are banned, no one other than Gazan and Israeli journalists accompanied by IDF (Israel Defense Forces) can report on the war that has been going on since October 7 of last year.

Before the Al Jazeera Law was ratified, the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) banned the outlet temporarily.  The ban will be effective for 45 days now that the law is passed.  The ratification allows the law to renew this ban, which will be renewed continuously until July or when the fighting between Israel and Gaza stops.  Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Knesset deemed Al Jazeera “a terrorist channel” and other foreign news outlets “a threat to national security.”*

This is not the first time that Al Jazeera has been targeted by the Israeli government, despite the network having offices in Gaza, West Bank, and Jerusalem.  In 2017, a communications minister accused the network of promoting violence, shutting down Al Jazzera’s offices and prohibiting them from broadcasting.  In 2022, Israeli forces killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was based in West Bank.  In the following weeks after the first attack in October, the Knesset temporarily closed media outlets that were regarded as a threat to Israel, Al Jazeera being the biggest outlet included in the closure.  More recently, around three months ago, Al Jazeera accused IDF of targeting a kill against two journalists, Hamza Dahbouh and Mustafa Thuria, while they were on an assignment.  A missile hit the car that they were traveling in.  In the process, the strike injured freelance journalist Hazem Rajab.  At least 95 journalists have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists since the outbreak of the war, targeted killings included.  Numerous others have been injured, arrested, or gone missing (the link provided includes the names and biographies of every journalist that has been accounted for).

Naïvely, I thought that banning a news outlet, especially one as big as Al Jazeera, was unheard of.  But then I realized, every journalist and media company in America is under the protection of the First Amendment.  Knowing that a government can shut down a highly reliable source is daunting.  It made me realize how fortunate I am to live in a country where freedom of speech is important and is given to every citizen.  The First Amendment allows every media outlet, including The Viking Times, to write whatever they choose.  The results of this ban are as eye-opening as they are horrific.

Will Al Jazeera be allowed to report on the war in July again?  Will the fighting between the two sides cease?  We cannot predict this as there seems to be no end in sight for this devastating conflict.  But one thing is for sure, the media will be forever changed from here on out, and the right to freedom of speech is not something to be taken for granted.



*Quote courtesy of: BBC

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About the Contributor
Shannon Raneri, Writer
Hello!  My name is Shannon Raneri and I am a junior at Winthrop High School.  I am an avid writer and I am very happy to contribute my writing to The Viking Times, our Winthrop community, and beyond.  I write a variety of topics from current events, to sports, and entertainment.   On the rare occasion when I am not writing, you can find me reading, playing with my dogs, or watching "Friends" for the umpteenth time. Thank you for reading The Viking Times!

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  • C

    Chele BernerApr 12, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Shannon, another great article. I’m glad you realized the importance of First Amendment rights. We are fortunate to live in this great country.

    • S

      Shannon RaneriApr 14, 2024 at 8:12 pm

      Yes, researching the content for this article was eye-opening. Freedom of speech is a luxury that not many countries have.