'No opinions clause' on its way to cancellation

On Monday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the cancellation, and it the Knesset approved it in a first vote with 24 in favor and none opposed.

October 19, 2015 22:05
1 minute read.

IBA logo. (photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)

The Knesset moved toward canceling a controversial amendment banning the expression of personal opinions in public broadcasts, in a first vote Monday evening.

The provision was added by MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) during the second reading of the bill to dismantle the Israel Broadcast Authority and replace it with a new public corporation.

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It states that broadcasts should “avoid one-sidedness, prejudice, expressions of personal opinion, giving grades and affixing labels, ignoring facts or selectively emphasizing them not according to their newsworthiness.”

Eichler said he based the text on the “Nakdi Document,” a part of the IBA ethical code since 1972.

The amendment passed in September even though the Special Knesset Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill, led by MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), voted it down. However, Science and Technology Minister Ophir Akunis (Likud), who was tasked with reforming the IBA, supported it.

The provision was extremely controversial, with many members of the press and politicians in the coalition and opposition speaking out against it, and the Prime Minister’s Office – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also holds the communications portfolio – announced soon after that it would be canceled.

On Monday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the cancellation, and it was expected to go to a first reading after press time.

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