A bad look: Israel’s courts ask Google and Twitter to scrub news stories critical of judges

Ha’aretz reports that Israel’s Courts Administration has been asking Google, Twitter, and other social media and search sites to scrub selected stories that appear to be critical of Israeli judges. While some of the stories are apparently incomplete or inaccurate, others appear to be straightforward mainstream media reports in which one or more judges is directly criticized for official actions. From the story:

“In some cases, the Courts Administration didn’t inform the relevant media outlets that it had requested an article’s removal. Moreover, it never informed the Justice Ministry that it was trying to remove such articles, and its legal adviser, Barak Lazer, did not mention this fact when he briefed the Knesset on the task force’s work in 2018.

The task force was formed by former Supreme Court President Asher Grunis due to an increase in online attacks on judges, particularly on social media. Its job was to ask social media companies to remove offensive posts. It also warned the people who wrote them that if the posts weren’t removed, the Courts Administration may take legal action against them.

A Courts Administration official said the task force contacts Google only if a judge complains; it doesn’t go looking for problematic content online. But a senior Justice Ministry official said that this did not make its conduct acceptable.”

No, it doesn’t. Wow.

No, it doesn’t.

2 thoughts on “A bad look: Israel’s courts ask Google and Twitter to scrub news stories critical of judges”

  1. Important issue. Yet, worth to note (as I have done here already in past):

    First, the penalty law in Israel, is very clear and conclusive in this regard, I quote:

    Disparagement of Court

    255. If a person said or wrote anything about a judge of a Court or religious tribunal in connection with his office with the intention to injure his status, or if he publishes invective against a judge of a Court or religious tribunal in order to bring the administration of justice into suspicion or contempt, then he is liable to three years imprisonment; however, a candid and courteous discussion of the merits of a judge’s decision in a matter of public concern shall not be an offense under this section.(Penal law 1977) .

    End of quotation:

    So, despite it, no one has been indicted on that article. Some few had been indicted while offending judges in legal proceedings, yet, not due to publication on social media. They could do it. Easily. Attacks against judges in Israel, are horrific simply. They are portrayed as ideological criminals. As corrupt. Unbelievable things are published against them. Yet, no one has been indicted, despite such explicit article. Israeli judges, are highly professionals. What is done to them, is simply awful.

    Second, there is now clear procedure, how to approach such publications. I quote Barak Laser (the legal advisor):

    “We have written an explicit work procedure whose purpose is to make sure that our activities focus only on the serious things, which constitute an incitement to violence against judges”

    Here one may read ( by the way, those article linked in the post, are inaccessible):




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