Moshe Katsav sentencing - Israel Hayom - 22.3.2011
From left, judges Miriam Sokolov, George Karra and Judith Shevach announcing the sentencing of former President Moshe Katsav at the Tel Aviv District Court. Photo by Israel Hayom
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The Courts Administration lodged a complaint yesterday with State Prosecutor Moshe Lador against the Internet site Ynet and the Channel 1 news program Erev Hadash, which released a recording of ex-president Moshe Katsav's emotional castigation of the judges in court Tuesday following his sentencing.

The Courts Administration said the recording and the broadcast constitute contempt of court, because they violated the judges' ruling on the matter. Ynet said there had been no prohibition against recording in the courtroom, only against direct broadcasts of the hearing.

In his letter to Lador, Barak Lazer, a professional adviser to the Courts Administration, said the recording and broadcast contravened the law and were in contempt of court because the judges had already rejected the media's request to broadcast the reading of the sentence.

Lazer also wrote that the Courts Administration took a very dim view of what he said was damage to the judicial process. He insisted that the matter be investigated and those responsible be brought to justice.

In rejecting the media request to broadcast a vocal recording of Katsav's sentencing hearing, on March 16, the judges wrote: "Despite the great public interest in the respondent, we have not found that the extraordinary circumstances exist that would justify deviating from the rule that does not permit such coverage."

The judges ruled that the sentence would be handed down with the media present, "which will assure immediate publication close to the time of the reading. In this way the public's right to know will be fully satisfied, with the actual vocal recording not contributing essentially to this right of the public."

Attorney Mibi Moser responded on behalf of Ynet: "There was no specific prohibition against recording. The prohibition was against recording in the courtroom, and the law prohibits photographing and does not talk about recording."

In fact, in the judges' ruling on broadcasting the sentence, they also wrote: "Our decision from May 6, 2009, on a similar request submitted by Israel Radio, the Israel Broadcasting Authority to permit live and/or recorded coverage from the courtroom of the reading and other meetings in which central testimony would be heard...constitutes an inseparable part of the reasoning for our decision here."