A culture of censorship
All journalists who apply for a government-issued Israeli Press Card must sign documents agreeing to the military censorship. According to the agreement, journalists will not publish security information that could benefit Israel's enemies or harm the state.
Breaking the rule could result in card revocation, and foreign journalists could lose their visas to work there.
In recent years, the censorship mechanism for checking scripts and pictures has rarely been practiced. Controls over content have faded more and more with the Internet as more freedom of information passes into the public domain.
Recent news of Prisoner X's case prompted Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr to request an internal report.
"I'm advised in the form of an interim report that the Australian government was informed in February 2010, though intelligence channels, that the Israeli authorities had detained a dual Australian-Israeli citizen, and they provided the name of the citizen, in relation to serious offenses under Israeli national security legislation," Carr told a Senate committee Thursday.
He did not mention what the alleged "serious offenses" were.
Carr said Australia sought specific assurances from Israel, such as that the detainee would get legal representation of his choosing and that he would not be mistreated.
"At no stage during his detention did the Australian government receive any requests from the individual or his family to extend consular support," Carr said.
"The Australian government was advised through intelligence channels on December 16, 2010, (of) this individual's death on the previous day, and the deceased's family had been notified by Israeli authorities."
The Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv assisted in returning the body to Australia, Carr said.