Likud MK David Amsalem denied that legislation he has proposed to punish those who leak information about police investigations would apply to journalists, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
A draft text made public on Monday that said that journalists would face up to a year in prison for publishing leaked information created an uproar on Monday. It was included in a bill which has already stirred controversy, to bar police from making recommendations regarding indictments to prosecutors.
Amsalem insisted that he has no intention of going after journalists or stifling free speech.
“[Journalists] were never part of the proposal,” he said. “The problem is with the leaker, not the person who publishes it. [The leaks] can only be coming from the police or prosecutors. The bill is directed at them.”
Amsalem told Army Radio his bill “would not damage free press,” and advised journalists to “calm down.”
He disavowed the clause about punishing those who publish leaks. “The clause won’t even be part of the bill, so calm down,” Amsalem said. “I don’t know why it was published like that.”