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Media prohibited from live coverage of Florida’s Cabinet meeting in Israel

Hours before the delegation was to take off from Miami, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis said the use of cell phones and laptops to cover the meeting over 6,000 miles from Tallahassee would be prohibited.
In January, the Florida Cabinet recognized Jerusalem as Israeli capital, and warned Airbnb over West Bank policy. Photos like this won't be allowed during Wednesday's Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Published May 25

Security at the U.S. Embassy in Israel will prevent the media from covering Wednesday’s Florida Cabinet meeting live.

Hours before the delegation was to take off from Miami, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis said the use of cell phones and laptops to cover the meeting over 6,000 miles from Tallahassee would be prohibited.

"The U.S. Embassy has sent us new guidelines for the Wednesday visit which, unfortunately, restricts us all to a great degree,” wrote Helen Ferre in an email to journalists and members of the delegation. “Neither you nor I will be able to enter with cellphone or laptop; photography and filming is allowed but not with cellphone or iPad. This applies to all attending this event, not just to journalists.”

The guidelines will prevent the media from livestreaming Wednesday’s 55-minute “ceremonial” Cabinet meeting, which has come under criticism from First Amendment watchdog groups and Arab-American groups.

The Florida Channel, which is funded by The Florida Legislature and produced and operated by WFSU-TV, will be the only outlet permitted to livestream the proceedings.

“Due to bandwidth limitations, we are able to support one live feed for the Cabinet meeting – this must be done via wired internet connection. The Florida Channel has been prioritized as the organization for live-stream coverage.”

Ferre noted that the restrictions were necessary because “security is an enormous concern” during the trip.

“It is what it is, my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience, it is the only place and time this will occur during this trip unless there is an emergency,” Ferre wrote.

USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA Statehouse Reporter Jeffrey Schweers is accompanying Gov. Ron DeSantis and his 90-plus member delegation on his Israeli business development mission this week as a pool reporter for the Florida Society of News Editors. Schweers will provide regular reports and updates from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for Florida’s newspapers. Follow him on Twitter for updates @jeffschweers.


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