MKs, rights groups slam proposed increase to libel penalty

After a heated debate on Monday, the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved by a vote of 5 to 2 the first reading of a bill to dramatically raise court-imposed fines for libel.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud) had proposed raising the penalty for libel (written slander) without proof of loss from NIS 50,000 to NIS 300,000, and MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) proposed a higher penalty of NIS 500,000.
In some cases, the penalty could be as much as three times that sum.
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