Foreign Media Boycott Netanyahu Press Conference Over Security Search


Foreign press photographers took the unusual step of boycotting the joint press conference of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his visiting French counterpart Manuel Valls to protest mistreatment of a colleague at the hands of security personnel.

Netanyahu’s security detail had demanded that pool photographer Atef Safadi disrobe for a body search before entering the venue. The Ramallah-based Safadi, who works for European Press Photo Agency, refused to comply and left.

In a statement, the Foreign Press Association said it was “disturbed and disappointed to hear once again that a photographer covering an event with the Prime Minister was asked to take part in a humiliating security check …”

“As a result, there was no independent journalistic access for the foreign media, and agencies refused to use photos released by the Government Press Office because of this restriction to access.”

The pro-Israel watchdog Honest Reporting noted that the incident was not an isolated one, citing “the disgraceful treatment of reporters like Simri Diab, Sara Hussein, and an Al-Jazeera cameraman by the prime minister’s overzealous guards.”

While HR was “not prepared to say there’s a pattern of deliberate misbehavior” – as it pointed out, “hundreds of reporters cross Israeli borders and attend media events without any problems” ­­- it said that the incidents does “suggest something’s amiss.”

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