Internet censorship bill taken off table

C'tee votes not to bring Shas MK's controversial legislation to Knesset plenum for deliberation.

computer 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
computer 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Discussion of a bill that would censor web sites in Israel was rejected by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Thursday. The legislation, proposed by Shas MK Amnon Cohen, would mandate that Internet service providers offer customers the option of blocking sites deemed "unsuitable." Specifically mentioned in the proposal were sites featuring pornography, violence and gambling. Only one member of the committee, Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi, supported putting the bill forward for deliberation in the Knesset plenum, while the other seven ministers opposed the bill. Various lawmakers and civil rights activists spoke out against the bill in recent days, charging that it would deny citizens' rights to freedom of information and privacy. One major bone of contention was a clause according to which the the right to decide the criteria for the appropriateness of the content would remain solely in the hands of the communications minister. On the social networking web site Facebook, a Hebrew group titled 'I too am against legislation on web site censorship' attracted over 200 members.