16 April 2003
Reporters Without Borders protested today at the detention of a team of journalists from the French TV station Canal + as they arrived in Israel yesterday to make a programme about international civilian and pacifist missions in the country.
“The Israeli authorities clearly want to stop the foreign media reporting on certain topics the army does not want publicised,” said the organisation’s secretary-general Robert Ménard. “We demand that these journalists be let into the country at once and allowed to freely cover events in Israel and the Occupied Territories.”
Reporter Arnaud Müller and cameraman Harold Bellanger were held when they arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. They later told Reporters Without Borders they would be put overnight in the interior ministry’s detention centre and deported the next day.
The journalists had planned to meet the family of a British pacifist seriously wounded in shooting by the Israeli army and currently in hospital in the southern town of Beersheva. Muller said he had worked in Israel as a journalist several times before without any problem.