Journalists protest Prime Minister’s no-questions policy, cite lack of transparency

The Journalists Association and Cells of Political and Health Journalists turned to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Wednesday and expressed outrage that press releases from both do not include time for reporters asking questions.
“Since you were elected to your posts, you have addressed the public in areas related to the coronavirus, pandemic-related restrictions and other matters,” the reporters wrote in a letter. “These speeches are generally conducted as public announcements and do not allow journalists to ask questions,” they said.

“Journalists are not nuisances to be chased away, as the Minister of Health would clearly agree since he was himself a seasoned journalist,” they added. “Journalists serve the public interest and act to ensure the public’s right to know.”

The association stressed that for journalists to do their job properly, they need to have access to as much information as possible, which includes asking questions, no matter how difficult or complex they are.

“Democratic governments differ from others in transparency, among other things,” the reporters wrote.

They concluded: “Press announcements that are conducted unilaterally without the presence of journalists and without allowing questions to be asked do not advance transparency and do not help build confidence in the government system. ”

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