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Nbc Again Under Investigation for Possible Censorship Violation

May 5, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Government officials are investigating charges that NBC News may have violated censorship rules when it broadcast a bulletin Monday afternoon of an Israel Defense Force incursion into southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

NBC broke into its regular programming with the bulletin hours before the IDF officially announced the operation, shortly before midnight Monday, local time. The early report may have given terrorists in southern Lebanon advance warning, enabling them to escape, the Jerusalem Post said.

If the NBC correspondent filed the report without submitting it to the military censor, it would be the second such breach by the American network in the past two weeks. The Israel Government Press Office suspended the credentials of NBC correspondent Martin Fletcher on April 26.

Fletcher allegedly violated censorship rules with a report on the Israeli government’s purported involvement in the assassination of Khalil al-Wazir, second in command of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who was gunned down at his home in Tunis on April 18.

Monday’s NBC bulletin claimed that 2,000 Israeli troops had entered southern Lebanon and that their objective was unknown. No other American network broadcast a special bulletin and Israeli military sources said the NBC estimate of troops involved was wildly exaggerated.

The Jerusalem Post quoted “sources in southern Lebanon” Wednesday as describing the IDF operation as a “show of strength rather than a military mission aimed at specific targets.”

“The sources noted that news of the operation had apparently been deliberately leaked to the foreign media — in direct contravention of the usual practice during an IDF operation,” the newspaper said.

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