Netanyahu says the media is dominated by the left, far left and extreme right.
Second Authority for Television and Radio CEO Shai Babad’s participation as a guest in the cabinet meeting that took place at the beginning of this week became an opportunity for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hit out at the Israeli media.
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Among other things, Netanyahu, who directed his comments at the man responsible for overseeing Channels 2 and 10, said that some of the television commentators “do not represent the nation.” Netanyahu continued, and said that there is a “monopoly of opinions” on the television screen, and that the choice today is between the left, the far left, and the extreme right, and said that there is a “failure in the decentralization of the media.” Netanyahu asked Babad why there are no new companies and more opinions in the Israeli media.
Babad came to the cabinet meeting in order to report to the ministers on the Second Authority’s activity to prevent the exclusion of women.
Among other things, Babad spoke about the action that was taken to air women who are interviewed on the local radio station Kol Baramah, and to promote women being interviewed on television. But Netanyahu chose to lead the conversation in an entirely different direction. He stopped the discussion, and said to Babad: “The positions of most Israeli citizens are not represented in the media.”
After Netanyahu spoke about leftist positions, Minister of Housing Uri Ariel cut him off and said that his positions are represented. Netanyahu added that “The positions between the extremes do not have their opinions properly expressed.”
Sources inform “Globes” that Netanyahu said, “There are claims that we want control, the opposite is true – we are in favor of removing control, so there will be a free market of opinions – there needs to be a broad variety that today does not exist.” Netanyahu continued, and said, “Decentralization is needed, and to allow market forces to take effect.” Later, he addressed Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan and said, “We need to advance this.”
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz also spoke on the matter, and said that regulation of media players is too difficult a task to manage.
Over the years, the prime minister has attacked the media and accused it of lack of objectivity. In recent years he mostly enjoyed the unwavering support of the newspaper “Israel Hayom, ” which is controlled by his close associate billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The possibility has been raised more than once that Adelson will seek to set up a television channel as well.
Netanyahu’s statements come at a very sensitive time for commercial television in Israel: the Second Authority is meant to decide about the future of Channel 10, and the Channel 10 news, and it is advancing a law to split Channel 2, and dissolve Channel 2 news.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com