PM's Congress Speech to be Censored

Central Elections Committee ruled PM's Congress speech be broadcast with five minute delay so editors can remove 'electioneering' remarks.

Ornit Etzer, Cynthia Blank ,

Netanyahu in Congress, 2011
Netanyahu in Congress, 2011
Flash 90

The Chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Judge Salim Joubran, ruled Monday to prevent the live broadcast of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech before the United States Congress next month. 

The Central Elections Committee's ruling is specifically addressed to the Israel Broadcasting Authority, the Israeli News Company (Channel Two), and Channel Ten, who are all set to broadcast the March 3 speech. 

The decision comes in response to petitions filed by Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon and Labor-Hatnua's campaign adviser, Eldad Yaniv. 

They argued that the speech itself constitutes illegal election campaigning and should be banned from being broadcast completely.

Netanyahu's attorneys, in turn, responded that the speech had been the idea of House Speaker John Boehner, and not the Likud party. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein agreed, calling the broadcast valid news reporting. 

In his ruling, Joubran wrote that broadcasters could transmit the speech by a delay of five minutes, allowing senior editors to censor remarks by the Prime Minister that they deem as electioneering. 

According to the ruling, if statements in Netanyahu's speech devolve into election propaganda, they may not be transmitted to Israeli viewers. 

The order also requires that the Second Authority for Television and Radio and the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Company ensure that all channels under their supervision comply with Joubran's ruling.