TEL AVIV (Feb. 5)
A special committee has recommended measures to expedite the flow of information from the Israel Defense Force to the news media.
The committee, headed by Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit, stated that the guiding principles of the military spokesman should be openness, independence and political neutrality.
The report was submitted on Friday to the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron.
The report stressed that “in a democratic society, it is out of order to use the media to manipulate public opinion.”
One recommendation calls for consolidating the IDF spokesman’s office with the office of the military censor. It states that media coverage of the IDF should be restricted only by security considerations, not by what might embarrass the army.
The report was critical of current policy, which it said is to provide information only if its publication serves the interests of the IDF. Otherwise it is kept secret.
The report called for reduced supervision over the news media, particularly military correspondents, and the avoidance of politics.
It called for better coordination of information between the northern, central and southern commands, with the goal of getting news to the media faster.
Shomron, meanwhile, is preparing for a 12-day visit to the United States as the guest of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He will spend three days in Washington to meet with the heads of all of the U.S. armed services, and will also meet with 30 American newspaper editors, senior correspondents and columnists on Feb. 8.