web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Bill To Ban Free Israeli Newspapers Faces Strong Pushback

With the Knesset now in session, a highly controversial bill has drawn the ire of Knesset members, legal experts, media watchdog organizations, free speech activists and journalists.

The measure, called the “bill for the promotion and protection of the printed media in Israel” but informally known as the “anti-Israel Hayom bill,” is set to be brought before Israel’s powerful Ministerial Committee for Legislation in the coming weeks. The proposal seeks to outlaw daily newspapers in Israel whose business model includes free distribution to the general public.

There is little doubt that the bill’s initiators, from on both on the left and the right, are specifically targeting the Sheldon Adelson-owned newspaper Israel Hayom, whose free-distribution strategy has in recent years taken away a significant number of readers from its competition.

The text of the bill, submitted by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) and co-signed by Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid), Robert Ilatov (Likud Beiteinu), Elazar Stern (Hatnua), Ariel Attias (Shas), and Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), claims that the measure seeks to “strengthen written journalism in Israel and ensure equal and fair conditions of competition between newspapers,” according to a Jerusalem Post translation.

But Professor Eli Pollak, chairman of Israel’s Media Watch (IMW), which calls itself the leading Israeli media watchdog organization, said the bill represents exactly the opposite of its stated goal.

“This legislation is anti-liberal and makes no sense in a free market where anyone can do what they want as long as it’s legal and ethical,” Pollak told JNS. “It’s fair competition. There is no reason to try and close [Israel Hayom] down or stop their way of working.”

MK Shaked recently admitted to a Channel 2 television interviewer that the bill “won’t pass.” Analysts suggested Shaked, along with her party’s chairman, Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett, initially supported the bill from the political right since it essentially targeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel Hayom has been accused of pro-Netanyahu bias.

“Israel Hayom is not a newspaper. It is Pravda,” Bennett said in March, referring to the Russian political newspaper associated with the Communist Party. “It’s the mouthpiece of one person, the prime minister.”

IMW’s Pollak said there is “no question the legislation is politically motivated.”He noted that “for years Yediot [Aharanot], which calls itself ‘the newspaper of the country,’ had a monopoly and nobody cared.”

“But,” he added, “when Yediot’s and Haaretz’s [market] shares went down and other newspapers including Israel Hayom and Makor Rishon went up, that posed a problem for those that don’t want right-wing opinions to be heard.”

A 2011 Target Group Index survey revealed that four years after its inception, Israel Hayom’s readership had surpassed that of Yediot – formerly Israel’s most widely read daily newspaper – with a 39.3-percent market share compared to Yediot’s 37 percent. Yediot remained the most-read weekend newspaper.

The latest TGI survey, released in January, showed Israel Hayomremaining the country’s most-read daily, with 38.6-percent readership (compared to 38.4 percent for Yediot) in the second half of 2013.

Pollak cites MK Cabel’s political bias in going after Israel Hayom. He said Cabel was responsible for shutting down Arutz 7, the right-wing radio station in Beit El that in 2002 was denied a broadcasting license and had its studios raided and broadcasting equipment confiscated.

On the other hand, when Israel’s Channel 10 television station “was going to be closed down when it didn’t meet its financial commitments, [Cabel] defended it,” Pollak noted.

“This is a very clear political game, which won’t succeed because it’s wrong,” said Pollak. “In a democracy with freedom of the press and freedom of business, this can’t go through.”

Yossi Fuchs, a Ramat Gan attorney with 15 years of experience in Israeli constitutional law, agrees the bill will never pass.

About the Author: Josh Hasten is president of the Jerusalem-based Bar-Am public relations firm. He and his family are moving to Gush Etzion this summer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Bill To Ban Free Israeli Newspapers Faces Strong Pushback”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University
Emes Ve-Emunah: Living Up to the Ideals of Modern Orthodoxy
Latest News Stories

The car headed towards a group of four soldiers in Hebron, striking one.

Prince Albert II of Monaco

The ruler of the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II, on Thursday issued a formal apology for his country’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Obama and Jewish Organization Leaders

Speaking to Jewish leaders and the American Jewish community on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said he’s had arguments with the Israeli leadership because he considers them his friends.

Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She denies that her criticism of Republicans wanting to put immigrants in “boxcars” was a reference to the Holocaust.

Iranian President Rouhani said Saturday the parliament should not vote on the nuclear deal so that it will not become a legal obligation.

The airport workers; committees new excuse to shut down the airport is to hold a solidarity strike with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

The daily also accuses the US of being the “biggest settlement country” that “enslaves millions of Hispanics.”

Swiss Ambassador Portrays U.S. and Iran as doves of peace defecating on Netanyahu.

He will arrive Sunday and will be “updated on strategic issues,” meaning Iran.

The boundary, enabling Jewish students to carry on Shabbat, will be made of plastic “lechies” on utility poles.

The café opened in 1939 and was closed n 1949.

A growing number of Arabs in Gaza are calling on people to burn down Hamas institutions.

An Oxford University professor’s new book uncovers what most Israelis know – that the Americans are not “Wild West” cowboys.

A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site. Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It […]

Israeli artists build an ice wall at the Davidson Center, near the Kotel in Jerusalem. The wall was based on a piece by American artist Allan Kaprow who built something similar in Israel, in 1980, perpendicular to the Temple Mount. Photos by Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.

About 30 protesters from the Jewish Defense League on Wednesday evening stood at a picket line holding Israeli and Canadian flags outside billionaire Bernard (Barry) Sherman’s north Toronto home during his cocktail fundraiser for the Liberal party.

More Articles from Josh Hasten

“This legislation is anti-liberal and makes no sense in a free market where anyone can do what they want as long as it’s legal and ethical,” Pollak told JNS.

After eight wonderful years living in Jerusalem, my wife and I recently picked up the keys to our new house in a community located within the Gush Etzion “settlement” bloc.

I was actually starting to believe I was the lucky charm of Sderot. Over the past eight months I had been to Sderot on business nearly every other week, and each time I traveled down from Jerusalem, things were quiet. No Kassam rockets, no “red color” warnings, no Israelis fleeing for their lives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/bill-to-ban-free-israeli-newspapers-faces-strong-pushback/2014/05/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: