Media of Israel
The media of Israel refers to print, broadcast and online media available in Israel.
The history of the press began in 1863 during the Ottoman Empire and before the creation of Israel, with Ha-Levanon and Havazzelet being the first weekly Hebrew newspapers established. In 1952, the International Publishing Company J-M Ltd was established as the countries first book publisher. Censorship was regularly enforced in years after the creation of Israel, throughout the Yom Kippur War and the 1970s. In 1986, the government allowed for the establishment of private and commercial media outlets to run in competition with state media.
The Israeli government generally respects press freedom, which is protected by the Constitution and independent judiciary. Hate speech, and publishing praise of violence or issues of national security is prohibited. While Israeli journalists operate with little restriction, the government has placed more restrictions on Palestinian journalists working in the region, as RWB alleges that the authorities entered Palestinian offices and homes looking for "illegal material". The media does carry criticism of government policy.
Freedom of the press
West Bank and Gaza
- United Nations
"Journalists and media officials have the right to safety and security wherever they may be in the world, even in zones of conflict. However reporting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a difficult and sometimes dangerous undertaking for journalists. According to the International Press Institute (IPI), since September 2000, there have been 562 violations of press freedom in the occupied Palestinian territory. Detention, injuries, restricted access, denial or permits, confiscations of documents and lengthy delays have constituted violations of freedom of the press. The IPI reports that 12 journalists were killed during this period in the line of duty, including 10 Palestinians. At least 478 press freedom violations were carried out by Israeli authorities; the Palestinian authorities were responsible for 30 of the reported press freedom violations. In its 2004 Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index covering 165 countries, Reporters Without Borders placed Israel's performance in the occupied Palestinian territory on rank 115 and the performance of the Palestinian Authority on rank 127."
- According to pro-Israel watchdog groups
In its "Palestinian Intimidation of the Press" article, Honest Reporting writes:
"The PA's policies of intimidation, harassment and persecution of the press are standard practices. Reporters won't admit it, but the fear of physical harm or the fear of dying is a powerful motivator. What motivated Italian TV's Ricardo Christiano to congratulate and bless the Palestinian Authority, and then apologize for another Italian broadcaster filming the barbaric lynching of two Israeli reservists in Ramallah? Was it fear? Or was it identification with the PA?"
"Non-partisan sources, such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Freedom House, and even Palestinian rights groups report that the Palestinian Authority routinely harasses, arrests, beats and tortures journalists who print or report items critical of the Palestinian Authority or Chairman Arafat. They all report on the pervasive phenomenon of journalists' self-censorship."
"As we have noted in the past ( 'Intimidation of Journalists' ), intimidation has also been taking place in the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinians who were not deemed appropriately 'patriotic' have been brutally murdered as 'collaborators.' PA thugs threatened journalists and photographers with harm during the lynching of the Israeli reservists at the Ramallah police station, as well as during the widespread celebrations going on in the Palestinian territories shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Cameras were smashed, film taken, and warnings given not to provide anything to their editors that would show the Palestinians in a negative light. In September of 2002, Jerusalem Post reporter Khalid Abu Toameh was repeatedly threatened with physical harm by a PA official. Abu Toameh wrote, 'the real danger comes not from the bullets of an M-16 or AK-47 assault rifle. Rather, it comes from attempts by certain elements in the PA to intimidate journalists who are only trying to carry out their jobs in a professional manner...[There are still those in the PA who believe] that a journalist is first to be loyal to the cause...'"
- According to pro-Palestinian watchdog groups
"Israeli military assaults on journalists are taking place with alarming frequency in the Occupied Territories. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the West Bank won the 2003 award for 'World's Worst Place To Be A Journalist,' explaining that 'gunfire from Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was the most dangerous and immediate threat.' Since the outbreak of the current Intifada, 9 journalists have been killed by Israeli soldiers, while over 250 others have been attacked and wounded (see http://www.miftah.org/report.cfm). According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in Ramallah, at least 20 press centers have been shelled, vandalized or damaged by Israeli soldiers. This systematic targeting of journalists, although seldom discussed in the American media, is a consistent component of Israel's military presence in the Occupied Territories. In April, 2002, the International Press Institute released a comprehensive account of 'chilling patterns' of Israeli violation of Press freedoms (see http://www.freemedia.at/index1.html). Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly denounced 'excessive and undue force against foreign and Palestinian journalists, who have been roughed up, insulted, targeted with weapons and harassed,' and just this afternoon released a formal statement on yesterday's incident (see http://www.rsf.fr/article.php3?id_article=4768). The Committee to Protect Journalists lists hundreds of similar episodes in which reporters were beaten, arrested, threatened with violence or death, and numerous instances in which film and equipment was confiscated or destroyed. We must energetically demand that such reprehensible incidents receive greater coverage in the American media."
"The PA does not have laws providing for freedom of press; however, the law permits every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and expression, and the right to express opinions orally, in writing, or through any other form. However, a 1995 presidential decree included injunctions against writing anything critical of the PA or the president. Although the PA did not restrict freedom of speech or press, members of the ruling Hamas faction restricted freedoms of speech and press."
"Working conditions for journalists in the West Bank and Gaza deteriorated noticeably during the year. Following the January Palestinian legislative elections, tension between the Hamas-led government and the Fatah movement resulted in polarization of the Palestinian press, with reduced press freedom, notably for local-level journalists. Numerous incidents against journalists, particularly those working in Gaza, included assaults, intimidation, and abduction in retaliation for reporting perceived as biased by one faction or the other."
"There were three Palestinian daily and several Palestinian weekly newspapers. There also were several monthly magazines and three tabloids. The PA operated one television station and one radio station. There were approximately 30 independently owned television stations and approximately 25 such radio stations."
"Closures and curfews limited the ability of Palestinian and foreign journalists to do their jobs. Journalists complained of area closures, long waits at the Gaza border crossing, and the government's inadequate transportation provisions."
"During the year IDF soldiers beat journalists on several occasions, detained others, and confiscated their press cards in Bil'in village where there were weekly protests over construction of the separation barrier (see section 1.g.)."
"On May 24, Israeli authorities released Awad Rajoub, a reporter for the Arabic language Web site of Al Jazeera, reportedly after being detained since November 2005; no reason was given for his detention."
"On October 6, IDF officials arrested Reuters cameraman Emad Mohammad Bornat in the West Bank village of Bil'in and detained him for two weeks. Bornat was charged with "attacking an officer"; however, according to Reuters he was subsequently found innocent by an Israeli court."
Journalists in the line of fire
"There were reports by foreign and Israeli media that the IDF fired upon journalists."
"On July 12, media reported that Ibrahim Atla, a cameraman with Palestinian public television broadcasting, was seriously injured by shrapnel from a tank shell, and two other journalists were also injured."
"On July 19, Al-Hurra reporter Fatin Elwan was struck by two rubber bullets fired by an Israeli soldier while covering the Israeli siege of the presidential compound in Nablus. Reporters Without Borders also noted that three other journalists, including Al-Jazeera television technician Wael Tantous, were injured when Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets at local reporters covering the event."
"On August 27, according to press reports, Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at an armored Reuters vehicle, wounding five persons, including two cameramen. A spokesman stated the Israeli Air Force did not realize journalists were in the car and attacked because it was being driven in a suspicious manner."
"On November 3, Hamza Al Attar, a cameraman for Palestinian news agency Ramattan, reportedly while wearing an orange vest marked "Press" was shot in the back and critically wounded while filming a protest by Palestinian women in Beit Hanun, Gaza."
"In January 2005 Majdi al-Arabid, a journalist working for Israeli Channel 10 TV in the Gaza Strip, was shot near Bayt Lahia while reporting on IDF operations against Palestinians suspected of firing rockets into Israel. An IDF spokesperson stated soldiers were unaware journalists were in the area and fired only on Palestinian gunmen. The IDF reportedly opened an investigation; however, at year's end there was no information on the status of an investigation."
"In 2003 James Miller, a British national, was killed by the IDF while filming a documentary in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. In April 2005 a disciplinary military court acquitted an IDF officer on charges of illegal use of firearms; subsequently, he was cleared of all charges. On April 6, a coroner's court in London ruled Miller's death was an "unlawful killing." Miller's family urged the British government to seek extradition of the IDF officer who killed him."
"Rising levels of lawlessness in the Gaza Strip subjected journalists to harassment and kidnappings."
"On March 15, three foreign journalists (Caroline Laurent, Alfred Yaghobzadeh, and Yong Tae-young) were taken at the Al-Dira hotel in Gaza by unidentified gunmen. On March 16, according to news reports, all three were released."
"On August 14, unidentified gunmen in the Gaza Strip kidnapped two Fox News journalists. They were released on August 27."
"On October 24, photojournalist Emilio Morenatti of AP was abducted by unidentified Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City; he was later released."
- U.S. Department of State
"The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice, subject to restrictions concerning security issues. The law prohibits hate speech and incitement to violence, and the 1948 Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance prohibits expressing support for illegal or terrorist organizations."
"The country has 12 daily newspapers, 90 weekly newspapers, more than 250 periodical publications, and a number of Internet news sites. All newspapers in the country were privately owned and managed. Political parties and religious bodies owned three minor dailies designed for Orthodox Jewish readers. The 1933 Journalism Ordinance and the British Mandate Defense Regulation for the Emergency Time Period were adopted upon establishment of the state; subsequently, the ordinance was never amended. The Ministry of Interior has no authority over the military censor.According to the Journalism Ordinance, anyone wishing to publish a newspaper must apply for a license from the locality where the newspaper will be published. The ordinance also allows the Minister of Interior, under certain conditions, to close a newspaper. In 2004 the High Court heard a petition filed by ACRI challenging the ordinance. ACRI withdrew its petition after the Interior Ministry pledged to prepare legislation effectively canceling the ordinance. At year's end legislation had not been enacted."
"The Israel Broadcast Authority, the country's state broadcasting network, controls the Hebrew-language Israel Television (Channel 1) and an Arabic-language channel, as well as Kol Israel (Voice of Israel) radio, which airs news and other programming in Hebrew, Arabic, and many other languages. Both Israel Television and Israel Radio are major sources of news and information. The Second Television and Radio Authority, a public body, supervises the two privately owned commercial television channels and 14 privately owned radio stations. In February 2005 the authority prohibited advertisements for the so-called Geneva Accords in which Palestinian public figures told Israelis, among other points, 'You have a partner for a peace agreement.' The authority claimed that its regulations on television commercial ethics prohibited it from airing commercials on 'controversial issues.' A consolidated cable company and one satellite television company carried international networks and programs produced for domestic audiences."
"The law authorizes the government to censor on national security grounds any material reported from the country or the occupied territories regarded as sensitive. An agreement between the government and media representatives provides for military censorship only in cases involving issues that the armed forces believe could likely harm the country's security interests. All media organizations must submit materials covered by the agreement to the censor for approval. This agreement deals with specific military issues as well as strategic infrastructure issues such as oil and water supplies.Media organizations may appeal the censor's decision to the High Court, and they cannot be closed by the military censor for censorship violations. The military censor cannot appeal a court judgment. Foreign journalists must agree to submit sensitive articles and photographs to the military censor. In practice they rarely complied. "
"Following an intensive public debate on the role of the media during wartime, as a consequence of censorship concerning, for example, specific locations of Katyusha rocket strikes, the Israeli Press Council established a Special Committee to Examine Journalistic Ethics and Conduct During War. Its conclusions were scheduled for publication following the final committee meeting on February 2, 2007."
"All journalists operating in the country must be accredited by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO). On September 20, ACRI appealed to the Supreme Court on behalf of a journalist residing in the Golan Heights who alleged that he had been denied a GPO card since 2003 based on political and security considerations."
"News printed or broadcast abroad may be reported without censorship. There were no recent reports that the government fined newspapers for violating censorship regulations."
"The Israeli occupation authorities limited freedom of expression. In East Jerusalem Israeli authorities prohibited display of Palestinian political symbols; displays were punishable by fines or prison, as were public expressions of anti-Israeli sentiment and of support for Islamic extremist groups. Israeli authorities censored press coverage of the Intifada and reviewed Arabic publications for security-related material."
"As a general rule, Israeli media covered the occupied territories, except for combat zones where the IDF temporarily restricted access. The government claimed such restrictions were necessary for journalists' security."
According to non-governmental organizations
- Committee to Protect Journalists
"A bitter power struggle between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah left journalists vulnerable to harassment and attack, with the slayings of two local media workers and the abduction of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston underscoring the risk. Journalists covering Israeli military operations in the West Bank and Gaza also had to contend with perennial abuses at the hands of Israeli forces."
- Freedom House
Freedom House publishes an annual Map of Press Freedom report on freedom of the press. The report, first published in 1980, rates countries as either "free" (F), "partly free" (PF), or "not free" (NF). The report does not distinguish between territory under Israeli jurisdiction outside of the green line and territory under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority; it refers to these territories, collectively, as "Israel Occupied Territories and Palestinian Authority" or "IOT-PA". The findings of the report, from 1994 to the present, for states which have participated in the Arab-Israeli conflict, appear below.
Year Egypt Iran Iraq Israel Jordan Lebanon Libya Palestinian territories Saudi Arabia Syria 1994 NF NF NF F PF PF NF NF NF NF 1995 NF NF NF F PF PF NF NF NF NF 1996 NF NF NF F PF PF NF PF NF NF 1997 NF NF NF F PF PF NF NF NF NF 1998 NF NF NF F PF NF NF NF NF NF 1999 NF NF NF F NF NF NF NF NF NF 2000 NF NF NF F PF NF NF NF NF NF 2001 NF NF NF F PF NF NF NF NF NF 2002 NF NF NF F NF NF NF NF NF NF 2003 NF NF NF F NF NF NF NF NF NF 2004 NF NF NF F NF NF NF NF NF NF 2005 NF NF NF F NF PF NF NF NF NF 2006 NF NF NF F NF PF NF NF NF NF 2007 NF NF NF F NF PF NF NF NF NF 2008 PF NF NF F NF PF NF NF NF NF 2009 PF NF NF PF NF PF NF NF NF NF 2010 PF NF NF F NF PF NF NF NF NF
- Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders publishes an annual report on worldwide press freedom, called the Press Freedom Index. The first such publication began in 2002. The results for Israel and the Palestinian Authority from 2002 to the present are shown below, with lower numbers indicating better treatment of reporters:
Year Israel (Israeli territory) Israel (extraterritorial) Palestinian Authority Year's Worst Score Report URL 2002 92 Not Specified 82 139  2003 44 146 130 166  2004 36 115 127 167  2005 47 Not Specified 132 167  2006 50 135 134 168  2007 44 103 158 169  2008 46 149 163 173  2009 93 150 161 175 
Israel has a large number of dailies, weeklies and periodicals, all privately owned.
- Azure  English edition of the quarterly journal offering essays and criticism on Israeli and Jewish public policy, culture and philosophy
- Globes  English-language website of Israel's business and technology daily
- Haaretz  English edition of the highbrow Hebrew-language newspaper, Haaretz has a liberal editorial stance similar to that of The Guardian. It's published online as well as included as a supplement to the local edition of the International Herald Tribune.
- The Jerusalem Post  Israel's oldest English-language newspaper
- The Jerusalem Report  English weekly newspaper
- YNetNews  English-language website of Israel's largest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth
- ISRAEL21c  English-language website reporting on Israel "beyond the conflict."
- Jerusalem Christian Review Highest Distributed Newspaper for Christians in Israel.
- Globes  business daily
- Haaretz  Highbrow Israeli newspaper with a liberal editorial stance similar to that of The Guardian
- Hamodia Daily newspaper serving Israel's Haredi community. English editions are also published in the U.S. and the U.K. and serve local Jewish Orthodox communities in those countries. Hamodia is not available online.
- Hazofe  daily newspaper with a religious Zionist point of view
- Maariv  Second largest Israeli newspaper, centrist.
- Makor Rishon  highbrow weekly newspaper, conceived as an alternative to Ha'aretz
- Tchelet  Hebrew edition of Azure, a quarterly journal covering Israeli public policy
- Yated Ne'eman Daily newspaper serving the Haredi community
- Yedioth Ahronoth  Israel's largest newspaper
- Israel Nachrichten  The German-language daily from Tel Aviv for the 100,000 German-speaking Jews in Israel
- Israelvalley  French-language website of Israel's economy daily.
- Guysen News about Israel in French
- Al-Ittihad  Arabic-language daily newspaper
- Israel Broadcasting Authority, TV News in Hebrew, some English.
- JerusalemONLINE video news update from Israel in English by Channel 2 News.
- Radio Israel
- Arutz Sheva news site representing the settler community, right-wing religious (English)
- Kol Israel - Voice of Israel Also produced by the IBA. In Hebrew, Arabic, French, English, Spanish, Ladino, Russian, Persian, Yiddish, etc.
- IsraCast - Independent, multimedia broadcast and distribution network that focuses on Israeli foreign affairs and defense issues (in English).
- Israelisms Podcast  Weekly podcast (in English) about everyday life and politics in Israel.
- DailyAlert  daily digest of Israeli and world media reports on Israel and the Middle East prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs for The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
- IsraelInsider  - Independent outlet. Target audience is American Jewry
- Jerusalem Newswire  Independent Christian-run news outlet
- ^ a b c Media of Israel, Press reference.
- ^ a b c Israel Press Freedom, Freedom House.
- ^ Israel 2007 report, Reporters Without Borders.
- ^ Press freedom in the OPT by UNSCO
- ^ Palestinian Intimidation of the Press by HonestReporting
- ^ Reporting Under Repression by CAMERA
- ^ AP squeamish about Israeli violations of international law by Palestine Media Watch
- ^ a b Israel and the occupied territories by the U.S. Department of State
- ^ Attacks 2007: Middle East and North Africa: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory by CPJ
- ^ Map of Press Freedom: Detailed Data and Sub-Scores 1980-2006 for the Middle East and North Africa by Freedom House
- ^ Map of Press Freedom: Regional Tables for 2007 by Freedom House
- ^ Map of Press Freedom: Regional Tables for 2008 by Freedom House
- ^ Map of Press Freedom: Regional Tables for 2009 by Freedom House
- ^ 2002 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2003 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2004 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2005 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2006 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2007 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
- ^ 2009 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders.
- The Printed Media: Israel's Newspapers Summary from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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