The Foreign Press Association is rightly upset that three female reporters were strip searched by the Prime Minister’s security detail last week before a briefing by deputy prime minister Moshe Yaalon.
Reporters already go through security checks before getting press credentials. The briefings they attend in the Prime Minister’s office are by invitation only. Unless there’s evidence of a specific threat, submitting journos to strip searches is unnecessary and rude.
Despite that, Hussein went ahead, attended Yaalon’s briefing and filed this report. Hussein’s a brave woman. I wouldn’t undress for the privilege of reporting the deputy PM’s views on Israeli-Turkish relations.
But this ain’t the first time the Prime Minister’s security team has gone overboard with the foreign press, and I can foresee the media corps boycotting Bibi.
Last March, I was invited as a blogger by the IDF to come to Ashdod to view the weapons seized from the Victoria arms boat. The invitation was on short notice — such is the nature of journalism, of course — and I was unable to attend. I regretted not being able to go, until I read that Bibi’s extreme security team created such a hassle that some 30 journalists got fed up and left.
That represents 30 botched opportunities for Israel to get its message out.
I have to ponder the fact that it could’ve been me forced to wait 90 minutes in the hot sun along with the veteran correspondents, bloggers — even high level military officials like the navy’s deputy commander, Rear Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda.
I’m not often invited to official media events or briefings anyway, but you better believe I’m going to think twice next time one comes my way.
After all, people with far more protekzia than me were treated disgracefully. It’s not something I would care to put up with on the rare occasion I get invited to some event warranting the PMO’s security detail. And yet here we have the foreign press corps facing the prospect of overzealous security precautions on a far more regular basis.
A media boycott is a lose-lose situation. But if more reporters decide that these events aren’t worth the headache, could anyone really blame them?