Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Knesset)
The Justice Ministry plans to propose a bill that will severely limit the
media’s ability to cover police investigations and court cases, The Jerusalem
Post learned on Thursday.
The initiative will amend the penal code to
include a punishment of one year in prison for anyone who publicizes materials
and testimonies pertaining to criminal investigations. The proposed ban on
publishing these materials will not have a time limit, and would apply to all
cases, including those about public figures.
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The initiative, which the
Hebrew-language press has nicknamed the “Concealment Bill,” has yet to be
submitted to the Knesset, but the Justice Ministry confirmed that it has been
approved by both State Attorney Moshe Lador and Justice Minister Yaakov
An official ministry statement explained that Lador has said more
than once over the past year that he plans to fight leaks about investigations –
therefore, the Justice Ministry, along with the State Attorney’s Office, Public
Defender’s Office, Ministry of Public Security and the Israel Police worked on
legislation on this issue.
The bill will ban publicizing materials from
an investigation without permission from a judge and forbid government workers
to release such materials. In addition, those involved in the case – suspects
and lawyers alike – may not give materials from investigations to the press, and
photographs and video of “law enforcement actions” relevant to the case may not
The Justice Ministry emphasized that the ban is on materials
from an investigation and not content, meaning that, theoretically, oral leaks
would not carry a prison sentence.
However, as the bill has not been
finalized and there are differences of opinion on the matter, the ban may be
expanded to include all information from investigations.