GPO calls for journalist visa for foreign press

GPO is concerned that foreign members of NGOs and activists claim to be journalists.

foreign press 248 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
foreign press 248
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Government Press Office is pushing for theintroduction of a US-style journalist visa for foreign reporters, aspart of a bid to filter out political activists posing as mediaemployees, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The GPO is concerned that foreign members ofpolitical nongovernmental organizations and political activists attemptto deceive immigration authorities by claiming that they are working asjournalists.

"Some activists offer their services to foreign media outlets,and then claim they are journalists. A journalist visa would requireforeign citizens who say they are journalists to demonstrate theirqualifications, and to prove that they worked for a news agency beforearriving in Israel," GPO Director Danny Seamen said.

While the idea has been proposed in the past, the GPO is morehopeful now of seeing the visa introduced after gaining support fromInterior Minister Eli Yishai and Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov.

The idea faced opposition in the past from the legaldepartment at the Interior Ministry, which said the visa had nogrounding in law.

The GPO has argued that such a visa is in operation in the US,and is effective in regulating the arrival of foreign press staff.