E. J'lem Journalists Charged for Breaking Censorship Regulations

Two journalists from East Jerusalem were indicted yesterday over their report on an Iranian television station that the Israel Defense Forces ground incursion in Gaza had begun, two hours before the military censorship allowed the information to be publicized. Reporter Khader Shahin of Ras al-Amud and producer Mohammed Sarhan of Abu Tor are being charged in the Jerusalem District Court with providing information to the enemy and providing confidential information.

The prosecution says the journalists reported information about IDF forces and troop movements on the Gaza border, "knowing that there was a significant possibility that the information would reach viewers in the Strip - including Hamas members - and that it was liable to help them in their war against IDF forces."

According to the prosecution, the defendants knew that transmitting the sensitive information, especially at that time, could "seriously harm the ground operation and the chances of its success, as well as increase the danger of harm to soldiers and [others] participating in it."

Shahin, 34, allegedly reported the following to the Al-Aram television studio in Lebanon, which airs its broadcasts in Iran: "There is very great movement of armored personnel carriers and Israeli military tanks that had previously been in military bases near the Gaza Strip ... Before these vehicles, tanks, APCs and soldiers began moving, artillery fire was intensified in the direction of Sajaiyeh, Beit Hanun and Jabalya ... Everything points to the possibility that the incursion has now begun into several areas of the Gaza Strip."

Shahin and Sarhan, 26, work for a Ramallah-based production company.