The Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot was ordered to pay libel damages to the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu on Tuesday.
The newspaper had accused the group of fabricating a letter from bereaved families protesting a documentary on Palestinian terrorist prisoners which omitted “[any] mention of our suffering, of the bereaved families who lost their most precious due to terrorist attacks.”
The letter in question was written by 28 families from the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, concerning the documentary Meggido, which aired in April 2017.
The mass-circulation newspaper refused to retract the articles, and Im Tirtzu took it to court.
Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Judge Ronit Pinchuk-Alt rebuked the paper for itself disseminating fake news about Im Tirtzu:
“[The evidence] leads to an unequivocal conclusion that these were defamatory publications, which were intended to humiliate the claimant in the eyes of the people, and to make them the subject of hate, contempt or ridicule and to disgrace them and even harm the career of” the Im Tirtzu spokesman, Pinchuk-Alt said.
Attorney Guy Tsabary, who represented Im Tirtzu, said “the court issued a clear message that freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to publish false information. The practice of publishing information without first requesting a response from those affected is a condemnable phenomenon that must be uprooted.”
The court awarded 105,000 shekels ($30,000) in libel damages plus 20,000 shekels ($6,000) in legal fees.