Protesters challenge libel law bill


(JTA) — Hundreds of Israelis protested against a libel law that passed its first reading in the Knesset.

The protesters gathered Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv, a day after the Knesset approved on first reading an amendment that would relax the criteria for slander and libel, and increase by six times the maximum damages for such infractions.

Peace Now and the left-wing Meretz Party organized the protest, which included chants such as "Bibi, Bibi, you’ve gone too far — Israel is not Iran" and "The right is running wild," Ynet reported. Meretz lawmaker Nitzan Horvitz called the proposed law "fascist." 

Amendment opponents say the measure will limit freedom of the press and stifle investigative journalism, and that the fines are excessive.

Approximately 100 counter-demonstrators protested nearby.

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