Israel Seizes Camera From AP, Citing Use of Its Images by Al Jazeera

Israel’s Communications Ministry confiscated camera equipment from The Associated Press on Tuesday, claiming the agency had violated a new broadcasting law by providing images of northern Gaza to Al Jazeera.

The seizure was an escalation in Israel’s efforts to punish Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab broadcaster that the Israeli government voted to shut down two weeks ago. It raised questions about how far Israeli authorities would go to cut off the Qatari-funded channel, which has provided extensive coverage of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Lauren Easton, The A.P.’s vice president of corporate communications, denounced the Israeli government’s action, calling it “an abusive use” of a new law that provides authorities with tools to crack down on foreign media organizations.

In a statement, the Communications Ministry said inspectors had gone to a location in southern Israel used by The A.P. to broadcast live footage of the border with northern Gaza, which is several miles away. The ministry claimed that the feed was illegally being carried by Al Jazeera.

The A.P. reported that Israeli authorities had conveyed a verbal order last week to shut down the live feed, but it did not comply.

As a prominent wire service, The A.P. makes its content available to subscribers around the world.

Ms. Easton said Israeli authorities should return The A.P.’s equipment so that it could restore the live feed and “continue to provide this important visual journalism to thousands of media outlets around the world.”

In Israel, Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language coverage has frequently come under criticism for amplifying Hamas’s perspective.

Al Jazeera has said that Israel’s decision to shutter its operations in the country violated “the basic right to access of information.”

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