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NADAV SHEMER \
Mavens fear for future of Israeli financial press
Steinitz speaks at Caesarea conference 370.
(photo credit:Yossi Zamir)
There are few reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for an independent,
critical financial press in Israel, according to a report presented at the
Israel Democracy Institute’s Caesarea Economic Forum on Wednesday.The
report, compiled by a group of six media, economic and workplace-relations
experts led by Haifa University’s Dr. Roei Davidson, concluded that
institutional barriers are hampering efforts being made by various business
organizations to cover business in a more creative and critical
manner.Pointing out that the five major Hebrew language news and
business dailies (Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv, Ha’aretz, Israel Hayom and Globes)
are owned by a few powerful businessmen, the report said Israel needed to follow
the example of the United States, where it claimed the financial press has
flourished since the global financial crisis.“There should be an effort
to strengthen public media organizations alongside the existing commercial media
through public funding (for example, via a license fee) and philanthropic
funding,” the report said. “Such organizations would not replace the commercial
media, but as seen from the situation in the US, could contribute to more
pluralistic financial discourse.“Most importantly, they could pave the
way for a more ‘muscular’ investigative financial press, which requires
considerable resources and layers of insulation from outside
influences.”The report urged existing media organizations to invest more
in employee training and wages, saying it would improve their products in the
long run. It said it recognized the importance of recent attempts by journalists
to unionize, adding that such an initiative would not only improve employee
bargaining power but also improve the quality of business journalism.An
IDI poll conducted ahead of the conference found that only 40.8 percent of
university-educated people and 27.4% of non-university educated people believe
the media are objective. The poll also found that 44.9% of Jews believe the
financial press is objective, as opposed to only 10% of Arabs.
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