Israeli news executives jailed for wiretapping p.38

By: Editorial Staff TWO ISRAELI NEWSPAPER executives recently were jailed for their alleged involvement in illegally wiretapping several of the country's politicians, top reporters and even Shin Bet, Israel's supersecret spy agency, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The April 29 story from Jerusalem by staff correspondent Mary Curtius said that Ofer Nimrodi, publisher of Maariv, and Moshe Vardi, top editor of Yediot Aharonot, both popular tabloids, were subsequently released on bail and that more arrests are expected. The two suspects were expected to be charged with commissioning wiretaps, according to the Times' account.
Both newspapers reported the arrests and the bailout, prompting one television journalist to quip that their release had given the term "free press" a new meaning.
But Sarah Friedman, head of he Israeli Press Association, was quoted as saying: "We think that Israeli journalism is being descredited. It is terrible for the public to think that we are not clean. This is a stain on our history and reputation."
Arnon Moses, publisher of Yediot, was questioned and released but was still under investigation, police said.
The Times story said the arrests came after a year-long investgigation by authorities who have accused Nimrodi of ordering the bugging of government offices, senior officials and Maariv and Yediot reporters.
Among those tapped was Israeli President Ezer Weizman, police said.
Nimrodi is accused of directing the bugging of his own staff. Amnon Abramovitch, a columnist, reportedly quit Maariv after police played him a recording of his phone conversation.
Vardi and Moses are suspected of ordering the wiretapping of a senior Yediot editor who quit to join Maariv.
The three men claimed innocence as the press association, the Israeli journalists union and the nation's Press Council called on them to resign pending resolution of the charges.


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