Among the first to break the news Saturday that Israel had begun its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip was a journalist working for an Iranian television station. What did this reporter get for is troubles? Arrested, for one.
In a nation with a history of at least moderate press freedoms (they finished not far behind the United States in the most recent Press Freedom Index from RSF) reporting the truth can now get you jailed for violating the nation’s stringent new military censorship laws.
See, at the time he announced the invasion, it was considered “confidential information,” and the military reportedly ordered all journalists in the nation to keep the invasion a secret when it first began. He still appears to be in custody, questioned for suspicion of violating the military’s order.
It seems fairly straightforward… the journalist doesn’t appear to have denied reporting on something that was not only true, but was common knowledge just hours later. The real question is not whether he violated the so-called censorship laws, the question is whether Israel wants to be a nation that jails reporters for telling the truth and carefully manages the media to prevent the truth about their latest military adventure from getting out. The answer so far seems to be a resounding yes.