The logo of Al Jazeera Media Network is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar June 8, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS/NASEEM ZEITOON/FILE PHOTO)
The Government Press Office is reconsidering an earlier decision to revoke the credentials of Al Jazeera journalist Elias Karam, the head of the Israeli Press Council revealed on Monday.
Amir Rosenblum, the council’s secretary-general, said GPO head Nitzan Chen told him his office “was leaning toward stepping back from its plan” to revoke Karam’s press card after the reporter rejected the use of violence during a GPO hearing held for him recently.
Karam had been threatened with having his credentials lifted due to an interview he gave to the Muslim Brotherhood television station, Dar al-Iman, in May.
”As a Palestinian journalist who is in an occupied area or a conflict area, journalistic work is an integral part of the resistance and of political and educational action,” he said then.
“A journalist fulfills his role in the resistance through his pen, voice or camera, because he is part of this nation and is resisting in his unique way,” he added.
The GPO said Karam’s comments called into question his ability to be a professional journalist and to represent a foreign network in the country.
Karam, 40, is an Israeli citizen who lives in Nazareth, and has had a GPO card as an Al Jazeera reporter since 2011.
In protesting the decision to revoke his credentials, Rosenblum told Nitzan that the council felt “denying a GPO card could be a step taken in response to a legal violation, but shouldn’t be used as a punitive measure for expressing an opinion.”
“The press in Israel enjoys freedoms and ought to be able to sustain even opinions not shared by the majority,” Rosenblum said.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara had sent Karam’s remarks to the GPO in mid-August as part of the government’s threat to shut down the Qatari-owned news station, which Israel has accused of inciting violence against Jews.
The cable network has said it would go to court to fight any attempt by Israel to shut it down.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.