Media indicted for violating gag order

Leading newspapers and Channel 10 violated law by reporting details of mob arrest.

zeev rosenstein 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
zeev rosenstein 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office on Sunday filed an indictment against three newspapers and a television station, charging them with breaching a gag order. The indictment was served against Yediot Aharonot, Haaretz, Ma'ariv and Channel 10 news for an incident that occurred in 2004. After a series of attacks against underworld figure Ze'ev Rosenstein in 2003, one of which led to the deaths of three innocent passersby, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court issued a gag order regarding the police investigation. On January 7, 2004, police arrested Yishai Vanunu on suspicion of involvement in the attacks. The police received permission from the Tel Aviv District Court to apply Article 36 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which allowed them not to inform anyone about the arrest. Vanunu was released five days later, after cooperating with the police and describing his part and those of others in the attacks on Rosenstein. On January 20, the Tel Aviv District Court partially lifted the gag order, allowing the media to report Vanunu's arrest and release, but not the reasons why he was arrested or the fact that his arrest was kept secret. That evening and the next day, all three media outlets mentioned the Article 36 procedure in their reports on the Vanunu case. The use of court-issued gag orders has become highly controversial in recent years. Legal activists argue that the police and the state prosecution are able to pressure the court into issuing unjustified gag orders to make things easier for themselves, while trampling on suspects' right of due process.