UKMW prompts Evening Standard correction to claim over Israeli bill ‘banning the filming of soldiers’

Following UK Media Watch's complaint, editors agreed to amend the article to note that the proposed Israeli bill had been watered down, and now no longer includes a blanket ban on filming Israeli soldiers.

Yesterday, we tweeted this to a journalist at the Evening Standard who wrote a article titled “Ministers approve bill outlawing filming of Israeli troops”.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the original article:

“The proposed law, formulated by the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, would make filming or publishing footage “with intent to harm the morale of Israel’s soldiers or its inhabitants” punishable by up to five years in prison.

The term would be raised to 10 years if the intention was to damage “national security”.

The phrasing of the bill stops short of a blanket ban, aiming instead at “anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian organisations” which spend “entire days near Israeli soldiers waiting breathlessly for actions that can be documented in a slanted and one-sided way so that soldiers can be smeared”.

The ban would cover social networks as well as traditional media.”

As we argued in a subsequent email to editors, Haaretz, Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post reported – a day prior to the Evening Standard article – that the bill had already been amended due to concerns it wouldn’t withstand scrutiny by the Attorney General and Supreme Court.  The current version is much more narrow in its scope, only banning filming which has the effect of preventing the military from carrying out its duties, acts which are already illegal regarding the impeding of police activity.

Following our complaint, editors agreed to amend the article.  

Here’s the new headline:

Additionally, the text was amended, and additional clarifying paragraphs were added (which we’ve highlighted in bold):

A controversial bill which proposed a filming ban on Israeli soldiers has been amended after the Attorney-General’s Office ruled it illegal.

The initial bill proposed by the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, made filming or publishing footage “with intent to harm the morale of Israel‘s soldiers or its inhabitants” punishable by up to five years in prison.

It was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday under the provision that a number of changes were made to its wording before it is presented to parliament on Wednesday.

The amended bill will call for the banning of interfering with Israeli soldiers while they are on duty prohibiting them from doing their job and will not totally prohibit filming as previously stated.

The following addendum was also added at the bottom of the article.

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