Israeli Agency Bans Radio Clip Naming Children Killed in Gaza

Calling material 'politically controversial,' Israel Broadcasting Authority refuses to run item by B’Tselem human rights group.

A Palestinian mother mourns the death of her son.
A Palestinian mother mourns the death of her son, who medics said was killed by Israeli shelling, at a hospital in Gaza City, July 23, 2014. Reuters

The Israel Broadcasting Authority banned a radio broadcast made by the human rights organization B’Tselem about children killed in Gaza, claiming its content was “politically controversial.”

On Wednesday the IBA again censored the clip, after considering B’Tselem’s appeal against the decision.

The clip, submitted a few days ago, says children have been killed in the fighting in Gaza and mentions a few of their names. The IBA said it was politically controversial and it does not allow clips of a political character.

B’Tselem wrote in its appeal that since the news programs don’t broadcast the names of the Palestinian fatalities – contrary to the IBA’s own rules — the organization offered to pay to air its clips.

B’Tselem asked what was controversial about the item. “Is it controversial that the children [aren’t] alive? That they’re children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public’s knowledge.”

“So far more than 600 people have been killed in bombings in Gaza, more than 150 of them children. But apart from a brief report on the number of fatalities, the Israeli media refrains from covering them,” B’Tselem said yesterday.

“IBA says broadcasting the children’s names is politically controversial,” B’Tselem said. “But refusing to do so is in itself a far reaching statement – it says the huge price being paid by civilians in Gaza, many of them children, must be censored.”