Israel’s Government Press Office alleged that an Italian journalist interviewed Israeli officials under the guise of a freelance assignment, but which was actually for use in a propaganda video later put out by Hezbollah.
The GPO said that Michela Moni claimed to be working for the Italian news agency ANSA when conducting interviews related to the Second Lebanon War. The material appeared instead on a Hezbollah special production depicting its kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers, the incident that started the war.
The head of the ANSA offices in Israel, Mossimo Lomokano, denied any involvement. He said that “ANSA never gave Michela Moni any assignment to interview any of the people interviewed for the piece on the events from 2006. Moni never told ANSA that he was doing these interviews. Moreover, ANSA has never published any interviews conducted by Moni regarding those events.”
Among those interviewed were Former Head of Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin, Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, MK Tzipi Livni, and MK Eyal Ben-Reuven.
After the interviews were made public by Hezbollah, Nitzan Chen, head of the Government Press Office, called the ANSA to demand an explanation.
“This is a serious matter that borders on fraud and misrepresentation, and which goes against professional journalistic standards,” Chen said.
“The GPO will take lessons learned from this case,” he continued, “including taking steps against the Italian news agency if it turns out that one of their representatives — be they a producer or journalist — were involved in this incident, which is being investigated.”