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Court: Photos of Rioters to be Placed in Safe

Press photographer says police violating her right in demanding she hand over photos of Jewish rioters
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/15/2011, 5:57 PM

Miriam Tzachi
Miriam Tzachi
Hezki Ezra


Judge Shirley Renner of the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court ruled Thursday that a photographer who took pictures of Jewish rioters must hand over the photographs to the court, which will place them in its vault. The court is to decide whether or not the photographer must comply with a request from police to hand over the photographs, so that they can be used to identify the rioters who stormed an IDF base last week.   

The photographer, Miriam Tzachi, was on the scene of the rioting, on assignment from Makor Rishon, a newspaper with a nationalist and religious bent.

The lawyer representing Tzachi, Haggai Ulman, says however that the pictures were not taken within the army base but rather hundreds of meters away, and that they do not show the break-in. "There is no documentation of a crime in the pictures," explained. "Why do the police need them for investigation? This is a breach of freedom of the press and of journalists. Police have the tools for locating the suspect… without revealing a journalistic source."

Makor Rishon expressed puzzlement at the police's request. "We do not understand what the police are thinking when they demands the photos. We do not possess the photos, Miriam Tzachi does, and she fears for her livelihood and her life. Exposing the photos will prevent her from taking photos again."

An advocate for the state said that the paper's response seems to show that it has something to hide. "No one is asking the photographer to reveal sources; the state wants a picture of what went on there," he said.

Makor Rishon said it would appeal the decision before the District Court.