A bill which would revolutionize the state’s handling of gad orders will be
taken up by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday.
bill’s initiation by Labor MKs Nachman Shai and Merav Michaeli followed heavy
criticism of gag orders on cases of public interest, including the cases of Anat
Kamm, Prisoner X and singer Eyal Golan.
Shai told The Jerusalem Post that
the current legal regime for issuing gag orders is “too broad and
He added that “today we are living in a different world
where often the gag orders are not relevant since leaks” through the Internet
happen so easily; “Our laws cannot ignore reality.”
The Labor MK
emphasized that overuse of gag orders also conflicted with the principle of
freedom of information and the public’s right to know about important
The bill would require a hearing within seven days of
certain gag orders going into effect.
Also, it would require courts to
almost immediately revisit the possibility of voiding a gag order, once it was
brought to the court’s attention that the information intended for protection
was already exposed by informal media, and to weigh whether continuing a gag
order was relevant in light of the exposure.
Next, the bill would give a
representative of the press a formal standing to argue for the removal of gag
orders at any hearings on the issue.
Shai continued, “laws are not made
to last eternally, they must consider changing realities” and argued that the
current laws applying to gag orders “have failed” and created embarrassing
situations where a person’s identity – protected by a gag order – was easily
findable in informal Internet media, but was being kept secret by institutional
media outlets due to legal prohibitions.
He said that the current law
made sense in a historical time period where “if you stopped five big media
outlets from publicizing something” you could keep the information
But he said the Kamm, Prisoner X, and Golan embarrassments
exposed how inapplicable that concept was today.
Explaining why the new
bill had more of a chance to pass now – as he has been campaigning for it for
years – Shai said that both the police and the attorney-general were backing the
Next, Shai said the police already have new internal rules
directing the reduction of the use of gag-orders, but they’ve been ignoring
He said that part of the idea of the bill was to give stronger
teeth to a general principle, which seemed to be otherwise ignored.
said the bill would not reduce protections of identity in cases involving rape
victims, minors or other cases where an individual is part of a protected class
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