In the aftermath of the resignations of Channel 10 news director Reudor
Benziman, Ruti Yovel, editor of the This Week program and Guy Zohar, This Week
presenter, journalists at Channel 2 issued a statement of solidarity in which
they declared that despite the fierce rivalry between themselves and their
Channel 10 colleagues, they respect their professionalism and integrity and
recognize the importance of what they do for Israeli democracy.
statement offers support and expresses confidence that the two news outlets will
continue to work in competition with each other in the spirit of freedom of
expression and the public’s right to know.
The three Channel 10
personalities resigned towards the end of last week following a decision by
Channel 10 to apologize to US billionaire Sheldon Adelson for a January 2011
investigative report, in which interviewees cast Adelson in a negative light in
speaking about his business dealings.
In order to avoid the threat of
legal action by Adelson’s lawyers, Channel 10’s lawyers, who had initially hoped
to work out some kind of compromise, eventually caved in to pressure which
generated an instant angry response by the station’s senior staff.
resigned on air at the conclusion of Friday’s program after reading the apology,
and immediately afterwards confirmed the resignation on Twitter, saying that
program number 40 was his last.
On air he said: “Sometimes you have to
raise a black flag and stand up for professional and ethical
While various aspects of the story appeared in several Israel
media outlets last week, and in double-page spreads in some daily papers on
Sunday, Adelson’s own paper, Yisrael Hayom
, devoted a whole page to it on
Sunday, leading with the apology, and noting at the conclusion of the section
that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are the owners of the paper.
separate report on the same page, the paper quotes unnamed sources within the
Channel 10 news department who say that Benziman was looking for an excuse to
resign because of his strained relations with Channel 10 news presenter Ya’acov
Eilon, who wields a lot of influence at the channel.
factor was the low ratings that Channel 10’s news and current affairs programs
have in relation to those of their rivals.
On Thursday, Channel 10 CEO
Yossi Varshavsky convened a staff meeting to explain that the station was
compelled to issue an apology, because if it didn’t, it might very well face
closure, and the apology was the only way to ensure that this did not
People who are close to Adelson have commented that while freedom
of expression is permissible, misrepresentation is not.
Keren Neubach, on
her morning current affairs show on Sunday, Seder Hayom
(Agenda) on Reshet Bet,
interviewed several journalists on the subject of tycoons investing in
Guy Rolnik, the editor-in-chief of The Marker
, the Haaretz
financial publication, said that even though it is well known that investors who
buy up television stations and newspapers lose money, it gives them power to
battle against regulators, politicians and even journalists who may think twice
about what they will write or say when preparing reports on them.
asked whether the cash infusion into Haaretz
by Leonid Nevzlin, a Russian
oligarch who this year acquired a 20 percent interest in Haaretz
, would give him
a say in the paper’s editorial line. This was something that Rolnik was unable
Neubach suggested that under the general status quo in the
Israel media today, journalists have to practice a lot of self-censorship for
fear of losing their jobs.
In recent years, several investigative
reporters in both the electronic and print media have been ditched because the
moguls on whom they focused brought pressure to prevent broadcast or