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‘Channel 12’ threatens to sue Israeli journalist for likening it to ‘Al Jazeera’

The media outlet says it will demand $268,000 in compensation • "My client will not pay the news company even one shekel," said Eli Zipori's attorney.

Eli Zipori speaks during a protest in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and against the judicial overreach in Tel Aviv, Dec. 30, 2019. Photo by Flash90.
Eli Zipori speaks during a protest in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and against the judicial overreach in Tel Aviv, Dec. 30, 2019. Photo by Flash90.

Israel’s Channel 12 announced on Sunday that it sent a warning letter to independent journalist Eli Zipori prior to filing suit for comparing it to the anti-Israel Qatari news outlet Al Jazeera, demanding compensation of 1 million shekels (~$268,000).

“[W]hile the news company and its journalists are busy with news coverage of the events related to the ‘Swords of Iron’ war, he [Zipori] published many posts on X that include serious, false and slanderous words against the news company, which he called ‘Al-Jazeera 12,'” the news outlet’s attorneys said in a warning letter to the journalist.

Comparing Channel 12 to Al Jazeera, which the government only recently barred from broadcasting in Israel due to its inciteful propaganda against the state, constitutes “a false and serious defamation like no other,” the attorneys continued.

The attorneys demanded that in addition to the financial penalty Zipori be forced take down all the offending posts, reported Mako, a Channel 12 news site.

Zipori’s comparisons of Channel 12 to Al Jazeera harm the news company and its journalists and are “an attempt to criticize their integrity and their journalistic actions,” they said.

Dozens of examples of Zipori’s offending tweets were attached to the letter.

In some examples, Zipori refers to three of the four main news channels as “Al Jazeera 11,” “Al Jazeera 12” and “Al Jazeera 13.”

Zipori, who supports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, has repeatedly criticized three of the four main Israeli channels. He has excluded the more right-wing Channel 14.

He has written a book, “Coup,” which examines the cooperative ties— what he terms “the destructive relationship”—between the State Prosecutor’s Office and Israeli media.

Zipori’s attorney wrote on his behalf that “it is unfortunate that during a war the news company is engaged in trying to silence a journalist and his sacred rights to freedom of expression and the press, which the news company seems to sanctify as long as they are not directed at them.”

“My client will not pay the news company even one shekel,” Zipori’s attorney added. “[T]he attempt to silence him did not succeed and will not succeed.”

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