Media personnel, from producers to editors to reporters, view everything as fair
game – except their own environment or professional activities. Their inquiring
minds and invasive interest seem to fog up or even choke up when it comes to
themselves, and the cameras and microphones don’t seem to work.
in 1992, surveys in the United States, as noted by the American Journalism
Review’s “A Secret No More,” indicated “that the media, which will report on
sexual harassment in government, the military and private business, has more
often denied its own problem than addressed it.”
An assistant managing
editor of the St. Petersburg Times commented the previous year at a panel on
sexual harassment at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention that
“we’re not spending enough money, we’re not spending enough time, we’re not
serious about it.”
Do Israel’s newsroom and management offices, two
decades later, have policies regarding office ethics, including explicit
enforcement plans? If so, do their employees know? Do we, the public, know? Are
there guidelines for filing complaints and punishment details? What do we know
about sexual harassment within the media? The question has landed on the agenda
this past week due to accusations leveled against Immanuel Rosen of Channel 10
News and Educational TV’s own media review program, Tik Tikshoret. It turns out
that for many years there was a cloud hanging over Rosen.
recent brouhaha, it turns out Channel 2 fired Rosen for his alleged antics three
years ago. At the time, Rosen was a reporter for Channel 2’s central news
program, Ulpan Shishi.
The Walla Internet site reports Rosen was fired
due to a complaint filed by a junior female employee. The director of the
Channel 2 news corporation, Mr. Avi Weiss, reportedly appointed a committee to
check the complaint and the conclusion was to send Rosen home.
has another twist: as reported by Walla, in 2008 journalist Avri Gilad refused
to co-anchor Channel 2 Reshet’s program Black Box
with Rosen due to the numerous
allegations against him.
Thus far the story has its positive side. There
was a complaint, a review of behavior, and practical conclusions were reached.
But then, in 2010 Rosen was hired by Channel 10 news, no longer as a mere
reporter but now as their political correspondent. He landed his job at
Educational TV in December, 2008. He was also hired by the 103FM “Radio Without
Interruption” station, broadcasting in Tel Aviv, to present their Five in the
Evening news roundup together with journalist Ben Caspit.
One cannot help
but wonder what his new bosses at Channel 10 knew about him when they hired
Or, for that matter, about Caspit. After all, he was employed by
Channel 10 from 2002-2006. Did Weiss pass on his information to the Channel 10
managers? If so, what did they do with this information? If Weiss did not pass
the information on, why not? Weiss and the management of Channel 10 owe the
public some answers. Why didn’t the managers of Reshet respond to Gilad’s
concerns with a serious investigation? Consider what would happen if, say, a
university hired a professor who had been fired from a different institution
under the same circumstances? Would the media have demanded an explanation? What
about a politician or a senior government ministry employee? Or a former
president? Of course it would have – so why not now? Rosen and his defenders all
claim that a defamation campaign is being waged against Rosen. They cite the
fact that not one of the women submitted a formal complaint to the police. But
as rightly pointed out by Meirav Karako, a senior editor in the Globes newspaper
who accused Rosen of obsessively “courting” her, the question is not only a
legal one, but also an ethical one.
First of all, their jobs, income and
professional advancement are on the line. But an atmosphere in which women are
just objects of desire rather than equal human beings is unacceptable, criminal
Media organizations willing to accept such norms should be
repudiated by the public. Israel’s media needs a much higher level of ethics
when it comes to professional relations between the sexes.
affair is one thing, the lack of ethical norms another. For example, Dr.
Yitzchak Laor is known as an extreme left-winger, one of the first who refused
to perform military duty in “occupied territory.”
But somewhat less well
known is the fact that in 2010 Laor was accused in the left-wing blog “Haoketz”
of being a serial sexual harasser while serving as a senior editor in the
To this day, Laor continues working as a journalist
Did his editors set up an investigative commission? In Laor’s case,
a woman did complain to the police, albeit too many years after the fact. But
one wonders whether also in Haaretz
the norms of working relations between the
genders need some review.
The issue does not start or end with sexual
Eli Yatzpan is one of Israel’s famous comedians, certainly a
role model to many aspiring young artists? Lior Averbach reported on February 28
that Yatzpan shouted and hurled demeaning, abusive epithets at stagehands for
what he thought was wrong with their work.
As reported at the time, this
was not a unique occurrence.
It seems that the Channel 10 manager
responsible discussed the issue with Yatzpan, demanding he not repeat such
behavior. However no real measures were implemented, not even an apology to the
workers who were publicly humiliated.
Yatzpan is not the only
short-tempered Channel 10 employee. Similar accusations were hurled five years
ago against Channel 10’s 5 p.m. news program Five with Rafi Reshef
employees of the program complained of public denigration, especially by the
program’s manager, Nehushtan Okun, who left the program in 2012, reportedly due
to Channel 10’s financial difficulties. But the complaints were also against
Reshef himself. Some of the employees described the experience as leaving them
with “scars and trauma for the rest of their life.”
The list continues.
Rafik Halabi was the editor of Channel 1’s central news program, Mabat. In 2007
he was censored for sexual harassment by the disciplinary court of Israel’s
Civil Service Commission. He was forced to leave his senior post at Channel 1,
but did this end his career? Not at all. He was promptly employed by Channel 2’s
Keshet concessionaire, presenting the program Rafik Halabi in the Field.
recently it was announced Halabi is running for the post of council head at the
Daliat el-Carmel local council. Did anyone in the media raise objections? Media
stars are proud that they are portrayed as being influential. They affect
fashion styles, music tastes, cultural preferences and political opinions. It is
a pity the public allows them also to be icons for a rather shady type of
behavior pattern: discrimination against women and even the violation of their
personal space, their professional standing and, perhaps, their bodies.
proper system must be adopted to correct these errors of judgment. The
journalists’ ‘omerta’ must be broken, the sooner, the better.The authors
are, respectively, vice chairman and chairman of Israel’s Media