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Publié par Jean-Patrick Grumberg le 17 octobre 2013

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My story started a few days ago with an investigation on CNN Jerusalem. The more question I asked, the more it became obvious that it was not a story about CNN…

Just a year ago, I revealed that CNN Jerusalem fired their Jewish journalists. CNN seems to see having an Israeli Jewish crew as an obstacle to promote a non neutral opinion of what is going on in the region.

According to the Israeli law*, foreign media must hire the same number of israeli and foreign journalists. If CNN hires a full time foreign cameraman, they have to hire a full time israeli cameraman too.

But a few days ago, my sources informed me that CNN is allegedly breaking the law again: they now plan to hire a full time foreign cameraman, but no Israeli. My concerns: this can affect balance journalism, and most European countries enforce such laws to protect the jobs of their local journalists.

I also learned that CNN hired part time foreign cameramen who stayed a couple of months – as long as their temporary working permit allowed it, and replaced them. They did not employ any israeli cameramen, therefore they broke the law every time a foreign cameraman was hired.

How did they get away with it and pass through the scrutiny of the Israeli Government Press Office that is in charge of enforcing the regulation remained to be determined.

I email the Israeli Government Press Office for an answer, and I received a phone call from Nitzan Chen, the Director of the Government Press Office.

Keep in mind that last year, when my article about CNN Jerusalem was published, Israeli journalists complained to the GPO after I mentioned that Dan Morgan, a non Israeli cameraman was hired. GPO answered that they gave a him a working permit, although no Israel were hired, because he was married to an Israeli woman. Now Dan Morgan left and went back to Europe, and CNN needed to replace him. First with part time cameramen, now with a full time. And none of them have an Israeli wife.

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Here is the transcript (without the repetitions) of my conversation with Nitzan Chen:

 

Me: how come CNN could hire part time foreign cameramen without hiring israeli ones?

 

Nitzan Chen: It’s not completely unacceptable. We changed the law in 2005 or 2006, and it’s not one for one anymore. Now, there is a combination between freelance and full time. It’s not black or white.

 

Me: Can you email me a copy of the new law?

 

Chen: Of course, I will email it to you tomorrow morning (it was 7PM when Chen call me)

 

Me: does this apply if a full time foreign cameramen is hired?

 

Chen: yes, because it depends of the capacity, what kind of camera, digital, etc.

 

Chen add: I am not aware that CNN has apply for a full time foreign cameraman, be patient, wait and see.

 

Me: Of course you are not aware. They did not apply yet. I learned that they will, and I want to know if they will get a licence even if they don’t hire an Israeli journalist.

 

Me: will you contact me to let me know if they apply?

 

Chen: yes, sure.

 

Me: OK, please email me the new law so I can understand what it’s all about, what has changed.

 

Chen: you will receive it tomorrow (on 15 octobre, 2013)

 

I did not receive any email back from the GPO, or from Nitzan Chen with the « new law ». Not the day before yesterday, not yesterday, and not today.

In the meantime, I asked a lawyer who deal with the press if he is aware of a new game changer regulation that does not protect Israeli journalists any more. He answered was a positive no, not his knowledge.

I asked an official who is familiar with the one for one law and who asked not to be named, and he told me:

« The order [the law] was issued to protect jobs of israelis. I believe government officials have an obligation to do so especially since every country does. »

That probably explains why Nitzan Chen never emailed me the « new law »: there is none. The law did not change.

And my question remain unanswered: How did CNN Jerusalem pass through the scrutiny of the Israeli Government Press Office that is in charge of enforcing the regulation, and how could they hire part time foreign cameramen without hiring Israelis.

I have to add that if hiring a foreign cameraman can be camouflaged by the GPO (unless they send me evidence to show that it’s legal) and if CNN dislike so much hiring israelis, why would they follow the regulation?

CNN does not need to handle their dirty laundry, if other people at the GPO is doing the dirty work for them.

Why would CNN hesitate to do something illegal if authorities turn the eyes in the other direction? If CNN have no intention to hire an israeli, and the GPO enforce a « new regulation » (that no one heard about), and does not protect the Israeli jobs, why bother?

At CNN Jerusalem, there are no more Jews. I mean, no more than the bare minimum: one for administrative and technical tasks, and a producer, because they HAVE to have someone who speaks Hebrew to follow what is going on. Over the recent years, they fired ten Jews.

Are Jews that bad of journalists in the eyes of the Israeli Government Press Office that they prefer not to enforce the regulation, and stop protecting their jobs?

Really?

You can reproduce this article with the following information and link : © Jean-Patrick Grumberg for Dreuz.info.

*The Israeli law:

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