TEL AVIV (Jan. 27)
The Israeli Journalists Association has expressed its anxiety over the decision of the Defense Ministry to “restrict the work of journalists in fulfilling their journalistic work” in covering the Israeli withdrawal on the southern front. The Association has asked for an urgent meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The Foreign Press Association in Israel has also protested against the 72-hour blackout imposed by the army authorities on covering the Israeli withdrawal.
Dayan instructed the army spokesman not to permit the presence of journalists–Israeli and foreign–on the scene when Israelis began to withdraw because such a coverage would have given the impression of a one-sided retreat. The presence of journalists will be permitted, however, when the Egyptians start thinning out their forces on the east bank of the Suez.
This decision was attacked today in editorials by Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot. They stated that hiding technical facts from the public would only increase the disbelief of the public in the government’s information machinery. Moreover, it provides the world with an open field for Egyptian-inspired information. Both papers claimed this decision cannot be regarded as motivated by military considerations, but is rather a politic ally inspired decision.