Al Jazeera Reporter Barred From Israel's Seminar On Press Freedom

The reporter had already been threatened by the Israeli government for having voiced support for Palestinians. Now, he can't cover the event.

Al Jazeera journalists working at the news organization's headquarters.

A month after threatening to shut down Al Jazeera's office in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now barred a journalist from the outlet from entering a free press seminar.

Al Jazeera's Bureau Chief Walid Omary was not allowed to enter the Israeli government's conference on press freedoms after Netanyahu personally intervened, the Miami Herald reports.

The seminar that is now off limits to the Al Jazeera reporter is titled “Limits of free expression: the dilemma between national security and freedom of the press — Al Jazeera as a case study.”

But while this case is getting media attention, this isn't the first time the Israeli government has tried to attack Omary.

Last month, the reporter had his credentials threatened after the government press office said he had expressed support for Palestinian resistance in a 2016 interview.

The Israeli government has been under fire for closing in on anybody who has ever expressed sympathy for Palestinians or the cause of a peaceful solution between them and Israelis.

But as the Israeli government discusses the “dilemma” between upholding freedom of the press rights and security, one could argue that Netanyahu may be using the support for Palestinians as an excuse to crush dissent in his country to make sure that opposition to his aggressive policies is never openly voiced by members of the press.

Will the international community condemn the Israeli leader for this assault against free speech?

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

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