Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a rally..
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
The head of the Press Council, retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, responded fiercely on Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the media in his address to Likud members the previous night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on “an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government....
Their goal is to put inappropriate pressure on law enforcement, with no connection to justice.”
A sign in the crowd at the Fairgrounds read, “It’s not fake news, it’s f***ing news.”
Dorner told Israel Radio it was “pathetic to attack the press” and that “making the press into the enemy of the nation is anti-democratic.
“He is going through a tough time and it is not easy for a man of his stature to deal with that,” she said. “But he should care about the standing of our democracy as well. I have seen the way journalists are preyed upon in other kinds of regimes.”
The Press Council released a statement warning against Netanyahu trying to paint the press as an enemy, saying it endangers the democratic nature of Israeli society.
The statement said Netanyahu’s investigations are proceeding according to the law and the prime minister was wrong to conflate the press and the legal processes of his probes.
“The press will continue to report on the investigations as long as they take place, because that is their obligation to the public,” the Press Council said. “Wrongly characterizing reporters as adversaries of the nation could harm their ability cover the situation and inform the public. Investigative journalists who are trying to reveal information the public has a right to know must not be harmed.”