The Committee to Protect Journalists has asked for a meeting with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, triggered by concerns that Israel could close Al Jazeera's bureau in that country and revoke their journalists' accreditation.
In a letter to Dermer, Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for CPJ, said Israel should: 1) "drop efforts to shutter Al-Jazeera, and should not change the law to target a broadcaster whose coverage it does not like"; 2) "take all steps necessary to ensure that journalists can work safely and are not targeted by security forces during protests or other forms of unrest"; 3) "stop raiding and harassing media outlets on the unproven 'suspicion' of incitement"; and "4) "immediately free the journalists it jails without charge under the broadly abused terms of administrative detention."
In a New York Times op ed, Mansour said: "Israel bills itself as a democracy while in the same breath defending its decision on Al Jazeera by noting the example set by Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy and Egypt’s military dictatorship. It is true that the government in Jerusalem will need to jump through more hoops than did the Arab states to shut Al Jazeera down."
"We look forward to the chance to meet with you in person to discuss our concerns, and to hear what steps the Israeli government will take to ensure that the press can operate freely in Israel and the Palestinian territories," Mansour said in the letter to Dermer.
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