Censor: IDF treated war info like routine operation

IDF Censor chief told Winograd instructions during war were unclear, slams briefings, interviews.

By
December 10, 2007 14:45
1 minute read.
lebanon war 88 298

returning from war. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

IDF officers did not understand that during wartime, it is detrimental to pass on sensitive information to reporters, chief Military Censor Col. Sima Vaknin told the Winograd Committee in a testimony released on Monday. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the military censorship came under harsh criticism from within and outside the IDF for allegedly permitting the publication of sensitive operational information, such as troop movements and deployment. In total, Vaknin said, the censorship had only 28 staff members, who needed to work with dozens of newspapers, radio stations, TV channels and Internet sites. "I think that in a way, they [senior officers] did not exactly understand that we were in the middle of a war, and they continued to brief reporters as if we were in the middle of a routine operation in Gaza," Vaknin said. "During a war, ambiguity is our strength... here, we lost it." Vaknin, who was appointed chief censor in August 2005 after Brig.-Gen. Miri Regev was appointed IDF spokeswoman, said that despite all the difficulties she encountered during the war, her office had succeeded in keeping the most sensitive information hidden from the public. "But the more simple information of where the Paratroopers or Golani Brigade are deployed are things that came out of IDF briefings to journalists, and even maps that were distributed," Vaknin said. She added that information she would have censored had been revealed by IDF generals during the daily press briefings conducted throughout the first two weeks of the war. "This could have been handled better," she said. "I personally thought that they should have taken four people [and trained them how to give the briefings]... and then turned it into something more institutionalized." Vaknin said that there had been 1,300 foreign journalists in Israel during the war and that while she had briefed some of them on the various censorship restrictions, the majority of them had not been under her radar. "Can I say that the censor knows how to work with the foreign press?" she asked. "The answer is definitely no. I don't have the ability. To tell the truth, I don't even have enough televisions to see everything simultaneously, and I needed to call people at home and ask them to sit and watch Sky News [and] Fox News and to call if there was a problem."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN