The Culture Minister never rests. Neither do we.

dan

Dear Friends,

 

Culture Minister Miri Regev never rests, and neither do we. In recent weeks she contacted the mayors of Jerusalem and Haifa, calling on them to prevent certain events from taking place in their cities. This week, following ACRI’s appeal, the Deputy Attorney General explained to the Minister, once again, that she does not have the authority to interfere in the content of cultural productions, even if she dislikes them.

 

The remarks by Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber say it all:
“This accumulation of incidents is concerning, as it relays a problematic message – that actions taken by cultural institutions and artists are always being examined by the state’s watchful eye, and that they are subject to the authorities’ constant supervision and monitoring, which tests the essence of freedom of expression.” She went on to stress: “Under the existing legal framework, funding cannot be withheld from the cultural sphere due to the content of the works presented and performed, or events held at specific institutions.”
 

This is not the firstsecond, or third time that we have objected the Culture Minister’s attempts to restrict opinions and ideas in the cultural sphere, and intimidate artists and cultural institutions. This also is not the first time that the Deputy Attorney General has had to clarify the legal limits to the Minister following an ACRI appeal. It is disconcerting that a minister in Israel must be reminded repeatedly of basic democratic principles. However, we promise to keep reminding her if she insists on forgetting.
 

Yours,
Dan Yakir
Chief Legal Counsel
Association for Civil Rights in Israel

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression

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