Israeli Chief Military Censor
Region: Middle East
Subject: Military Censorship, Security
Position Currently Held by: Colonel Sima Vaknin
Confronting Bodies: Israeli Government
Description in Brief: Israel has a long history of military and security based censorship, and the position of Chief Military Censor carries wide ranging powers in order to ensure that no information deemed too sensitive is broadcast out by the press, both domestic and foreign.
Effects of the Military Censor: While the position of Chief Military Censor carries with it sweeping powers to regulate the press, strict guidelines are in place to ensure the system is not abused.
Description of the Position: Israel, a country located in the Middle East, has a system of censorship based on the Defense Regulations left over when the area was still a part of the British Mandate. As a part of these regulations, a single censor is able to use a variety of powers in order to ensure that state security is preserved. Appointed by the Defense Minister, the Chief Military Censor operates under a variety of rules and conditions which govern the actions he or she take, and answer only to the Supreme Court of Israel. The powers granted to the Chief Military Censor are robust, and include the ability to shutdown newspapers, jail and/or search someone suspected of concealing information, and the power to cut out specific lines or entire portions of an article deemed harmful to state security. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Justice laid forth an extremely rigid test in order to ensure the system was not abused. In order to censor a publication, there has to be an "imminent certainty of actual harm to state security." Often times this can not be proven by the Censor, so censorship in Israel is minimal - when it is used it is never in regards to the opinions being expressed, but whether the information being used is in fact harmful to state security.