Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event
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.
Comments are closed.
The Israeli navy is about to receive its fourth submarine and the first of three nuclear subs purchased from Germany.
BDS gets doused again with the announcement that the California Beach Boys are going to surf in Israel.
King Abdullah’s participation in the upcoming NATO summit will be of “immeasurable illumination” on the strategy of confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS).
Journalist Steven Sotloff, beheaded by the ISIS, secretly practiced his Judaism but hid it from his captors, according to a fellow kidnap victim who was among those freed. The ISIS posted a video Tuesday showing the execution of Sotloff, less than two weeks after it distributed a similar video of the beheading of journalist James […]
Two stray mortars landed near the border Tuesday evening in the Eastern Golan Heights.
O.J. Simpson is converting to Islam. He was charged with his ex-wife’s murder in 1994. She was nearly decapitated.
Rockets and violence over diplomacy and passivity is the Palestinian Arab ruling style of choice, as reflected in a PCPSR poll.
The prosecutor says Masterson told police, “I didn’t want him to think I’m scared.”
Honey cake, gourmet honey, flavored honey, and honey as a recipe in chicken, and even fish, are all expected to contribute to soaring sales of honey this Rosh Hashanah and holiday season. Ironically, the US Department of Agriculture is conducting hearings to define honey or just how much honey is required to qualify for “pure […]
Abbas does not have to push agenda because he has the Obama administration is his spokesman.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has just released a video showing the beheading of another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, according to a monitoring group.
Yet another terrorist attack was averted today…
Cantor can thank his defeat to a Tea Party candidate for leading him to more lucrative and stable career.
“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.
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: