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Court accepts Strong Israel-Balad campaign petition
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
15/01/2013
High Court accepts far-right, Arab battle against Central Elections Committee's decision to ban part of parties' campaign broadcasts.
 
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday accepted a petition filed by Strong Israel and Balad over a Central Elections Committee decision to ban certain parts of each parties’ election campaign broadcasts.

The court reversed the decision of Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and granted permission for all aspects of the parties’ campaigns to be broadcast.

Ophir Bar-Zohar, spokeswoman of nonprofit Palestinian-run legal center Adalah, said it “praises the High Court for accepting all of the claims of the Balad party, according to which the purpose of the broadcast was to voice criticism in a satirical manner on the attempt to legislate an obligation on Arab citizens to declare loyalty to the national anthem.”

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She added that the High Court’s decision “clarified unequivocally that the broadcast was covered by freedom of speech” principles and could not be limited or banned.

Strong Israel responded to the ruling, saying the decision to “block their broadcast had caused them injustice” and that the court’s ruling reaffirmed their right to raise questions about the balance of rights and obligations in the Israeli Arab sector.

In reversing the committee’s decision, Supreme Court President Justice Asher D.

Grunis said the balance of the considerations, including the fact that Balad’s broadcast had already been uploaded and played a vast number of times on the Internet and used in foreign media all over the world.

He added that, “it may be time to reevaluate the law in light of the changing unforeseen realities,” referring to the fact that current election law may not fully ancitipate the impact and speed with which broadcasts can be shared and go viral online.
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