NYT abides by Israeli gag order, draws questions from public editor

The New York Times

The New York Times delayed publication of a story this week about a young journalist and Palestinian rights advocate held by Israeli authorities, abiding by a court gag order, the Times’ public editor wrote Friday.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren told Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that the paper is bound by the gag orders:

She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past.

The newspaper’s newsroom lawyer told Sullivan “the general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media,” but said the Times hasn’t challenged the restriction in Israel.

Sullivan said holding the story for a few days “may have done no great harm,” but she said she found it “troubling” that the Times should have to wait for the government’s approval before deciding to run a story.

If the situation is unavoidable, she said, a “little transparency would go a long way” and that the story should include a sentence or two telling readers what is occurring.

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  • Loel Lund

    How can Senator Feinstein of California continue to call Israel “the only democratic country in the Middle East” when there is no freedom of the press?