Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took to the airwaves to defend himself against charges of corruption Thursday night. But, in a chilling glimpse into the reality of election campaign “reform” laws, the plug was pulled on his speech:
“Mr Sharon was barely warming to his task, thumping the podium about 10 minutes into his speech, when the chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Mishael Cheshin, a Supreme Court Justice, decided he was violating a law preventing the broadcast of ‘election propaganda’ in the month before a vote. In quick succession, Israel’s three television stations, along with state and army radio, cut off the sound, with announcers saying they had been ordered to do so.”
So politicians can be attacked, but if they defend themselves, they are engaging in illegal “election propaganda.” In the thirty days before an election, apparently only the media can speak. Israel’s campaign laws are not identical to McCain-Feingold; in particular, McCain-Feingold does not purport to restrict what candidates themselves can say. But Israel’s law appears to be motivated by the same spirit as McCain-Feingold–a desire that during the critical last weeks of an election, all discourse be moderated by the media, lest direct communication with the voters persuade them to vote for conservatives.


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