One gag order reform vote passes, ‘revolutionary’ bill fails

New regulations explains how and when initial order is issued, suspect can request extension of order.

January 9, 2014 22:12
Ben Zygier.

Ben Zygier 370. (photo credit: Courtesy ABC)


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The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has approved a fleshing out of the regulations for implementing the law on gag orders relating to public officials.

More specifically, the regulations explain exactly who informs a suspect (police, the courts or other officials) and how and when the initial order is issued and the suspect is informed initially that he is under investigation so that he can request an extension to the gag order to protect his identity.

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Currently, there is an automatic gag order on a suspect’s identity for at least 48 hours after he is questioned, but there had been significant confusion about implementation issues during and after that time.

Also on Wednesday, the Knesset voted down a bill proposed by Labor MK Nachman Shai to “revolutionize” the legal regime relating to gag orders by reducing their scope and length and making it easier to challenge them.

Both votes involved heated debates, particularly around the issue of to what extent and at what stage the media should be given a chance to fight against a gag order in court.

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