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Israeli TV Journalists Disciplined

May 27, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Two senior journalists at a state-run television station will be reassigned for alleged biased editing in a story that featured Israel’s prime minister, the Broadcasting Authority announced Tuesday.

Two other senior staffers at Channel 1 will be reprimanded, said the authority, which sets standards for government-operated broadcasters.

The report showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem’s Mayor Ehud Olmert on the balcony of city hall as a huge crowd gathered below, celebrating the league championship of Jerusalem’s Betar soccer team.

The footage showed the crowd chanting ``death to the Arabs,″ followed by a shot of Netanyahu and Olmert smiling.

Netanyahu and Olmert said later they did not hear the shouts and would have condemned them if they had.

The editor of the news clip, Natan Gutman, and his assistant, Elisha Speigelman, will be removed from their posts and reassigned, while two other station officials will receive critical letters, said the Broadcasting Authority.

Uri Porat, head of the authority, said Gutman and Spiegelman were guilty of biased editing and ``misleading the viewers.″

But the chairman of the Israel Journalists Union, Arieh Avneri, accused Porat of trying to scare state broadcasters away from carrying anything that might offend Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

``There was nothing in the editing for which the staff could be accused of political bias,″ Avneri told Army radio.

Private media in Israel are not subject to the authority’s dictates.

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