(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Israel Broadcasting Authority has revived its ethics committee with two primary goals, to set clear rules on interaction between journalists and politicians and to revise the IBA's code of ethics.
That code of ethics has for years been known as "Mismach Nagdi" (the Nagdi Document), named affectionately for Nakdimon Rogel, the veteran journalist and broadcaster who formulated it decades ago. Changing times and values have forced the reexamination of Mismach Nagdi.
The ethics committee chaired by Dr. Yuval Karniel, a member of the IBA plenum, was reactivated at the urging of IBA chairman Moshe Gavish and his deputy, Dorit Inbar. Both attended its meeting last week, where there was heated discussion on the issue of politics.
Whereas it was once taken for granted that journalists exercise objectivity and refrain from any form of political activity, in some circles this has changed and journalists are openly identified with political parties, or with leaders of parties.
Karniel, who believes that the IBA is in dire need of a completely new, clear and transparent code of ethics, said politics should not in any way determine how or what a journalist reports.
In fact, no political activity of any kind should be permitted within the walls of the IBA, he said.
Even outside the walls of the IBA, said Karniel, contacts between journalists and politicians should be minimal and on a strictly professional basis.
In its initial effort, the ethics committee is advocating a ban on political activity within the IBA, and is emphasizing the importance of journalists not exploiting their political connections to obstruct or advance any aspect of the drastic reforms that are being introduced into the operations of the IBA.