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Nbc Correspondent Says He Opposed News Bulletin on Lebanon Operation

May 10, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An NBC News correspondent in Israel, penalized last month for violating censorship rules, tried in vain to prevent another possible violation by the network last week, it was disclosed here Sunday.

According to the newspaper Hadashot, NBC ignored the advice of its correspondent, Martin Fletcher, when it interrupted regular programming on May 2 with a bulletin reporting the Israel Defense Force incursion into southern Lebanon. The bulletin was broadcast hours before the official announcement and possibly even before Israeli troops crossed over the border into Lebanon.

The NBC report is being investigated by government officials for possible breach of censorship.

Fletcher recommended that the report, based on American sources, not be broadcast and refused to broadcast it from Israel, Hadashot said.

Israeli newspapers quoted Fletcher as saying Sunday that the impending IDF action in Lebanon was probably leaked by an Israeli official to the Pentagon, which passed on the tip to NBC News in New York.

Fletcher’s press credentials were suspended by the Israel Government Press Office on April 26, because he bypassed the censor with a report that Israel’s Inner Cabinet had approved the assassination of Khalil al-Wazir, second in command of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, was gunned down by commandos in his villa in suburban Tunis on April 16. The killing was widely attributed to Israel’s secret service, Mossad. The government has neither confirmed nor denied these reports.

The press office also suspended the press credentials of Glen Frankel, Israel correspondent of The Washington Post, for filing a story similar to Fletcher’s, without submitting it to the censor.

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