Journalists request probe of Channel 10 resignations

Channel's apology to billionaire Sheldon Adelson for uncomplimentary coverage has raised fury in News department, and raised the question of investor intervention.

Dalia Dorner (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dalia Dorner
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Jerusalem and Tel Aviv journalists associations have joined forces to lodge an appeal to the Israel Press Council headed by retired Supreme Court judge Dalia Dorner to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the resignations of senior Channel 10 staff.
Channel 10 news director, Reudor Benziman, and Ruti Yovel, editor of the This Week program, resigned last week following a decision by Channel 10 to apologize to billionaire Sheldon Adelson for airing uncomplimentary details about his business dealings in an investigative report in January.
Much of the material in the report was also published in the US media.
Angered by the broadcast, Adelson had threatened to go to court, at which point the matter became a complicated legal issue.
Attempts by Channel 10 lawyers to reach some kind of compromise reportedly failed, and then in addition to the pressures to which it was subjected by Adelson’s lawyers, Channel 10 found itself doubly pressured by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who happens to be one of Channel 10’s owners, with a stake of about 25 percent.
The apology was apparently worded by Adelson himself, and supposedly generated fury throughout the Channel 10 news department. It is anticipated that further resignations will follow.
In their appeal to Dorner, the executive committees of the two journalists associations noted that for many years journalists have waged a battle against interference by politicians and business people in editorial content.
In recent years, the appeal continued and pressures from major players in the business community have intensified. With all due respect to investors in Israeli media, who have enabled greater competition, the appeal states there are red lines in the relationship between investors and editorial staff that should not be crossed.
The journalists associations have asked the Press Council to mount an indepth investigation into what led to the resignations of Benziman and Yovel and to make their findings available to the public.