Ten years after 'temporary' appointment, controversial Government Press Office head may be forced out of office
Daniel Seaman, who has come under fire repeatedly for allegedly refusing to grant or renew press credentials for political or personal reasons, may soon be leaving his post.
After a decade of heading the Government Press Office, Daniel Seaman, who has come under fire repeatedly for allegedly refusing to grant or renew press credentials for political or personal reasons, may soon be leaving his post.
Seaman, who is officially the acting director of the GPO (which is part of the Prime Minister's Office ) despite the length of his tenure, did not get through an internal tender process that took place two months ago. The Civil Service Commission issued an external tender last week, and it will be closed next week.
It's unusual to keep a civil servant in the position of acting director for a decade, and government officials decided to make Seaman's continued work contingent on his winning the post in a tender process, according to Information and Diaspora Ministry officials.
"In accordance with the rules of good government, the Civil Service Commission has mandated that our ministry issue a tender for the position," the ministry said in a statement.
Seaman, who is planning to take part in the external tender as well, would not comment.
Seaman's conduct has been harshly criticized by journalists given a hard time when attempting to receive or renew their press accreditation in Israel.
Lisa Goldman, a freelance journalist from Canada who now lives in Tel Aviv, said Seaman, who immigrated to Israel from the U.S., has a "long history" of inappropriate behavior. She filed a letter of complaint against him with the Civil Service Commission in 2006, in which she accused Seaman of using abusive language and threatening to have her investigated by the Shin Bet during what was supposed to be a routine visit to renew her press card.
In the letter of complaint, which she posted an edited version of on her blog, Goldman wrote: "In response to my request to speak to his boss, Mr. Seaman said, 'I do not have a boss. I am not accountable to anyone. I make all the rules. And just the fact that you have asked me this question means you will never receive a GPO card again.'"
Goldman also cited complaints that Seaman has refused to renew the press credentials of Palestinian journalists who had worked for the foreign media for decades.
A Haaretz article from 2006 quoted Seaman as saying that in the past few years, more than 60 foreign journalists have encountered problems in extending their work visas. One of them, Joerg Bremer of Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, had been working as a correspondent in Israel for 15 years when he suddenly became an illegal resident because his visa wasn't extended. He brought the issue to the German government, which formally appealed to Israel's ambassador in Germany to resolve the problem.