Danino puts moratorium on profiled press briefings

Police will no longer hold press conferences or briefings on high-profile investigations that are under gag orders.

June 11, 2013 23:52
1 minute read.
Danino Yohanan

Danino370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Police will no longer hold press conferences or briefings on high-profile investigations that are under gag orders, Israel Police Insp.-Gen Yohanan Danino said Tuesday, following an embarrassing mix-up Monday night in which police went public with details of the Bar Noar case before the gag order was rescinded.

“The press conference held yesterday by the Tel Aviv district [police] was a violation of previously established protocol, and in case things weren’t clear enough, I will clarify in a way that can’t be misunderstood – that the Israel Police will not hold another press conference of this sort.”

He also vowed to appoint a team to examine what went wrong Monday night and to prevent such instances in the future.

In the meantime, Danino placed blame for the fiasco on Tel Aviv police, reiterating that they violated established protocol by prematurely holding the press conference.

Danino added that from now on, the handling of gag orders will be handled by the head of the police investigations and intelligence branch.

In regard to reports of senior police officials criticizing the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court judge’s decision to extend the gag order on Monday, Danino said such statements are out of line and “run contrary to the principles of the Israel Police and the respect the police holds for the justice system.”

Mid-day on Monday, Tel Aviv police invited crime reporters to a 4 p.m. briefing at district headquarters, saying that at the end of the briefing the gag order would be rescinded and they can go forward with the story. At 3:30, shortly before the briefing was to take place, the attorneys for two of the suspects issued a motion to extend the gag order.

The police briefing with reporters went on as planned, and by 5 p.m. the Israeli press had published many reports detailing the police case against the suspects. Minutes later, the court issued its decision, and police had to make the embarrassing call to reports telling them that the gag order had been extended, and the reports already online must be taken down. A war of words ensued between Tel Aviv police officials who saw their moment in the spotlight tarnished, and legal officials who saw police as deciding for themselves which court orders they will observe.

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