Police botch gag order on LGBT shooting details

Israeli media forced to remove story on probe into Bar Noar shooting after court rules police briefing stricken from publication.

June 11, 2013 01:03
1 minute read.
Tel Aviv police briefing press on Bar Noar investigation, June 10, 2013

Israel Police press briefing370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman )

A celebratory press conference turned into a public embarrassment for Tel Aviv police on Monday afternoon, after they released most of the details of the Bar Noar investigation in a briefing with crime reporters, only for a Tel Aviv court to extend a gag order minutes after the briefing.

The court’s decision sent police scrambling to inform reporters that the entire briefing was to be stricken from the record for the time being, and that all the details already online at every Israeli media outlet were in fact against the law.

The mix-up turned what had been a triumphant press conference – held to publicly break down how Tel Aviv police cracked their biggest case in years – into an embarrassing case of taking a victory lap too soon.

The confusion had to do with the content of the gag order. Police were under the impression that the hearing, held at 3:30 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court, was to decide whether or not the names of the three main suspects could be released.

They decided to hold their 4 p.m. briefing with reporters, telling them that the details could be released and that by the end of the court hearing, reporters would know whether they could add the names of the suspects to their stories.

What they didn’t realize was that the gag-order hearing dealt, in fact, with all the details of the investigation, most of which were hurriedly posted online while the court was still wrapping up.

Minutes after reporters left the briefing, police sent out a message that the gag order was extended and that all details of the case must be stricken from the media for the moment. The news was met with incredulity by reporters, but soon enough the articles were pulled off the Internet.

The next hearing on the gag order will be held on Tuesday afternoon. •

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