Israel - Media Landscape
|Capital||Jerusalem (not internationally recognised)
principle embassies in Tel Aviv
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Currency||New Israeli Shekel (NIS)|
|Population||6.4 m (2007)|
|Area||20. 770 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€37.4 bn (2006) (37%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€36.4 bn (2006) (27%)|
|GDP||€117 bn (2007)|
|GDP per capita||€18.000 (2007)|
|Unemployment||8,5% (2007 est.)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||244,3 (2006)|
|Languages||Hebrew, Arabic, some English|
There are myriad perspectives available in Israeli press. Stories range from mundane daily briefings to editorials rife with criticism of the government. Even editorials debating the country’s very existence can be found.
Still, there is pressure on state-owned TV and radio. But overall the government respects the freedom of expression of local media. However, in the West Bank and Gaza, Reporters Without Borders has recorded a number of violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This document, which Israel signed, guarantees press freedom.
One of the most delicate issues in Israeli media is what the government considers the perpetual state of war there. There is heavy censorship on all military issues. All stories concerning military issues must be sent before publication to a military censor.
Nearly 95 percent of the Israeli population reads newspapers. There are 22 official daily newspapers of which 10 are in Hebrew. The other 12 are divided among Arabic (4) , English (2), German (1), French (1) and Russian (4). Furthermore, four weekly papers and several different local papers are in circulation.
Third is Ha’arretz, which is the oldest national daily. It was founded in 1919 and has an average circulation between 65.000 and 75.000. Its target audience seems to be the educated and the elite. An English insert is distributed inside the International Herald Tribune.
The Jerusalem Post, which is published in English, does not have a Hebrew edition. But it is said (by its editors) to play a role in the Israel-Diaspora dialogue.
Israel Today, or Israel Hayom, launched in 2007. It is a free daily tabloid funded by the billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson, who is based in the United States. It tries to cut readership from the other three papers with blunt editorials and pro-opposition editorial line.
Magazines are popular as well in Israel. Although there are hundreds of different magazines, La’isha, a women’s magazine, is the most nationally read. It belongs to the Moses family media conglomerate.
Editors working at Israeli publications must submit articles to a military censor each day. Some stories come back with text blacked out. Sometimes entire articles are blacked out. This happens throughout Israel – not just in the Palestinian territories.
Israel’s media landscape offers a variety of languages, political and religious views. The organisational structure of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), resembles that of the BBC. It operates public radio and TV services. It is funded mainly by license fees on TV sets.
Both radio and state-run television channels belong to the IBA.
Israel has two state-run channels and two local, commercial channels. Commercial channels are Channel 2 and Channel 10. These are both supervised by a public council set up to define regulations and standards.
Channel 1 is the oldest channel, founded in 1968. It belongs to the IBA. It shows several locally-produced programmes as well, some of them about news, in English.
Channel 2 did not start until 1993, when it broke the monopoly of the IBA. It airs local and cultural shows.
Both cable and satellite television can also be received. The Israeli media consumer can choose between a large variety of imported entertainment and news channels including Sky and BBC News.
The main radio operation is ‘the Voice of Israel’ Kol Israel, which owns eight networks. The programmes are not just in Hebrew, but in 17 different languages.
Israel is one of the 30 countries in the world with the best computer equipment. Approximately 60 percent of the Israeli households have Internet access. Some households that do not have Internet access abstain from using the medium for religious reasons. In particular neighbourhoods, ultra-Orthodox religious groups bar the Internet.
Still, Israeli newspapers offer online editions across the board. Also, more bloggers are joining the local conversation.
The Haaretz Newspaper hosts a business and networking platform called The Marker Café that allows bloggers an interactive platform for creative and social chats.
The Jerusalem Post is as good gateway to Israeli blogs. Some they link to:
- Jewlicious - A group blog written by Israelis from several walks of life.
- In the Land of Milk and Honey - A 28-year-old Jewish man writes from Tel Aviv.
Currently, between 6.5 and 7 million mobile phones are in use in Israel, which means that about 97 percent of the population owns a mobile phone. Some operations share the national cellular communications network. These four operations are Cellcom : Partner Communications-Orange Telephone and MIRS (Motorola Israel).
Pelephone also provides service, to about 2.4 million subscribers
Learning and support
Almost every college in Israel offers journalism and media studies. These include esteemed universities like the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Bar Ilan University, University of Haifa and Ben Gurion University, in the Negev.
- Sammy Ofer School of Communication
- Open University – course: Mass Media in Israel
- Open University – course: Canonic texts in media research
Israeli journalists are organised in a national association. It is the umbrella union comprised of the Tel Aviv union and the Jerusalem union. While Tel Aviv is mainly print journalists, Jerusalem members are mostly in broadcasting.
The union in Israel is under pressure arising from the replacing of collective contracts with short terms, private freelance contracts on most of the privately owned media. The unions are trying to recruit young journalists and offer them legal advice and professional support.
The press council in Israel is comprised of representatives of media owners, academic and public observers and the union of journalists. The press council is trying to enforce a code of ethics and is offering the public a forum to bring forward any complaints against unethical conduct on the part of a journalist or newspaper. The press council in Israel also deals with issues arising in the field of online journalism.
- Media Law in Israel
- Radio in Israel
- Haifa Press
- International Federation of Journalists
- BBC Country Profile
- Reporters Without Borders
National Federation of Israel Journalists
Chairman of the Jerusalem association: Ahia Hika Ginosar
Acting general director of the Tel Aviv Association: Yosi Bar Moaha
Beit Agron, 37 Hillet Street
P. O. Box 585
Tel.: +972 2 625 4351
Fax: +972 3 625 4353
The Open University of Israel
The Dorothy de Rothschild Campus
108 Ravutski Street
P. O. Box 808