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Israel Makes Censorship Demand Of NY Times

UPDATE #2  NYT publishes first story since the “censorship” order and complies by reading section of it over the phone to Israel official.   No need–the story is straight stenography anyway from the two reporters in Jerusalem.  The Times‘ public editor, just hours before, had written, “the very idea of censorship or gag orders by a foreign government is a disturbing one, not only for journalists but for all who value the free flow of information. It’s heartening to hear that The Times has not submitted any articles for review, and I hope that that will remain the case as this situation develops.”

In fact, the Times‘ international ed had just declared,  “we are not submitting NYT articles for prior review by Israeli censors.”  Whoops.

Note complete acceptance of story from IDF, including timeline.  And more. Count all the absurdities in this one line:  “Israel sent text messages to area residents to remain in their homes as forces rushed farther into Rafah, bombarding it from the ground and air to block the captors’ escape.”

UPDATE #1   NYT spokeswoman says they’ll go along with it, telling Huff Post: “We adhere to the laws of the countries in which we report, including this one.   We aren’t going into details beyond that at the moment.”  You have to wonder: If media hadn’t gone along with similar blackout after the three Israeli teens were kidnapped back in June–setting this tragedy in motion–would they have uncovered evidence, only lately emerging, that Hamas may not have been involved, thus short-circuiting crisis?

I still haven’t see any other media outlet mention the above.  See AP story from just minutes ago.  And Wash Post story.  Was NYT singled out for this (despite very favorable coverage from Jerusalem bureau in past?) because of its importance?  Or did compliant Times reporters just mention it as explanation to the Israelis that this story had already appeared before the censorship demand?

Earlier:  Important note on “censorship notification” in just-revised NYT article on end of ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.

After the initial publication of this article, the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to the apparently abducted soldier would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than two years.

Note that the Times has been criticized in the past for agreeing to what they call “gag orders,” including by its public editor, when it revealed that it had buckled under to Israeli censorship in the past.  Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren defended that when it was exposed.  “The Times is ‘indeed, bound by gag orders,’ Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land.”

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