Thursday, June 01, 2006

True Press freedom

Haaretz publisher backed amnesty for Arutz 7 heads

President Moshe Katsav yesterday revealed the considerations that led him to grant partial amnesty to four people convicted of operating an illegal radio station, Arutz 7.

An announcement yesterday from the President's Residence said that Katsav had received appeals from 46 MKs and chief rabbis past and present asking him to grant the convicted quartet amnesty.

An appeal also came from Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken, who argued against restricting the use of available radio frequencies and in favor of permitting anyone interested to operate a radio station, just as anyone who wishes to can establish a newspaper.

In his letter to Katsav, Schocken wrote that a democratic and pluralistic society must protect the freedom to express an opinion, and restrict activity to prevent and punish offenses. In Israel, Schocken said, the authorities permit settlers "to take the law into their own hands," while high-handedly enforcing the law when the settlers try to voice their opinion through a radio station.

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