May 30, 2013

MEDIA COMMENT: Do peace and freedom interest the media?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:53 pm by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Do peace and freedom interest the media?

By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK, 29/05/2013

Reporters without Borders included Hamas and the PA security forces in a list of “predators of freedom of information” who “censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers.

In a recent academic article, Beate Josephi, a lecturer at Australia’s Edith Cowan University, postulated that while democracies provide the legal framework for freedom of speech, they do not offer protection for journalistic services, whether in print, broadcast or electronic.

These are largely financed privately by those persons, or conglomerates, who own the media outlets. She suggests that “journalism needs supporters who see value in independent information provision and credible news judgment.”

This, of course, presents three problems. In the first place, what happens when the media is owned by the public and the money is collected through taxes or license fees, which is a major part of the Israel reality? In the second instance, journalists are notorious for either ignoring or refusing to accept input from the public or most other outsiders unless, of course, the assistance and support is unambiguously in favor of whatever journalists do or publish.

The third problem is: Do we accept her premise that there indeed is “independent information provision”? Is journalism, if left solely in the hands of those that produce the news at ground level, truly independent? Isn’t there bias and prejudice inherent in any, indeed, every news report? One of the more popular myths that journalists propagate about themselves is that they represent the most reliable force that faces down the domination, by government or industry or religion, of truth. We suggest that any press which is not sufficiently balanced out either by competition, a critical public or a system of regulatory review with an ability to correct and even punish, not only betrays principles of ethics but is inherently undemocratic.

Journalists when left to themselves go so far as to assist non-democratic countries or groups in acting illegally and immorally.

One aspect of this is the way the press sees its role in reporting on the promotion of peace.

In a previous column, “Freedom of the press – who really cares?” (May 10, 2012), we treated the duplicity of Israel’s self-proclaimed human rights groups, who promoted the theme that Israel is moving in an alarmingly anti-democratic direction while ignoring the abuse of democracy by the Palestinian Authority. Has the situation improved over this past year? In its 665-page report, released last February, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries. It found that in the PA, journalists and bloggers continue to be harassed. On May 21, 2013, the Palestinian Commission for Human Rights said in its annual report that incidents of abuse by the PA are up 10 percent since last year including “preventing reporters from reporting or arresting them.”

The journalists were accused by the security services of insulting PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, leading to a call by HRW that those in charge respect the freedoms of the press and free expression. As an example, the report notes the detention of Omar Abu Arqoub. He anchors a program on Al-Rayah radio. His laptop was confiscated as was a portable hard drive. Another journalist, Haroun Abu Arrah, also a film producer, was interrogated concerning comments he made on Facebook.

He claimed the PA was pressuring his employer to fire him.

Reporters without Borders included Hamas and the PA security forces in a list of “predators of freedom of information” who “censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers.”

Vivian Bercovici, in an April 30 column in the Toronto Star this year, provided additional details of the PA’s anti-democratic activity. Lampooning Mahmoud Abbas online will get you jail. This is what happened to a person who posted Abbas’ photo next to that of a TV villain who had collaborated with French colonial rule. Another resident of the PA received a year in prison for posting a photograph of Abbas kicking a soccer ball with a mocking caption.

Hamas was reported to have arrested dozens of journalists since 2007 when it came to power. The Palestine Journalists Syndicate, a professional journalists’ guild, has been found to be cooperating with the PA political leadership rather than with professional colleagues.

There are many more examples but the end result is not only that journalists in Israel and in other free countries do not defend their Palestinian colleagues, they are permitting the PA to continue in its policies that not only destroy a free press but are undermining the “peace” they too often serve rather than cover.

If our media does not sufficiently inform Israel’s citizens about the day-to-day reality in the Palestinian Authority (for an outstanding exception see this paper’s Khaled Abu Toameh), if they do not provide critical analysis in a sustained manner, they are betraying their profession.

This past week, President Shimon Peres crossed the Jordan River, in what was claimed to be “a special diplomatic visit.” He recreated the classic three-way handshake of Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Abbas (Abbas, by the way, is years overdue for democratic elections). President Peres also plagiarized Menachem Begin when he declared, “War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable.” That last sentence was lifted from Begin’s greeting to Sadat in the Knesset on November 20, 1977: “We have learned from history, Mr. President, that war is avoidable. It is peace that is inevitable.”

The press received the president’s press office news releases notifying them that he is a diplomat. On May 23, he held “a diplomatic meeting” with Kerry and the next day “a diplomatic working meeting” with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Back on May 5, he held “a diplomatic working meeting” with Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

The media ran amok over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s sleeping arrangements on flights, but the fact that Peres is empowering himself with a role that is not legally his, is for all intents and purposes disregarded.

The media, local and foreign, have also failed their consumers in reporting a recent statement made by the PA’s Saeb Erekat. Erekat, a notorious liar (remember the infamous Jenin Massacre affair), demanded of Peres “to exert every possible effort to convince… the prime minister of Israel [to say] he accepts two states on [the] 1967 [borders]. He needs to say it.”

No one challenged Erekat. The truth is that on March 21, 2013, at a press conference with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said Israel “remains fully committed to peace and to the solution of two states for two peoples.” On December 5, 2012, he said, “We remain committed to a negotiated settlement…[and] that solution is a twostate solution for two peoples.” And almost four years ago, on June 14, 2009, he said: “we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.”

Our media, and the foreign media, had Erekat on camera and were recording him live but permitted him to prevaricate. No one reported that Erekat, true to form, had falsely insinuated that Prime Minister Netanyahu would not accept the two-state solution. Peace and truth were not served by the press.

Josephi, in another article, believes that freedom as it is served by the media includes, among a long list, reviewing if information flows freely, if there are multiple levels of self-regulation, if there is internal media democracy and do watchdog groups have an effect.

If not, media consumers are but misinformed tools to be exploited, and democracy is ill-served. National goals, including peace in Israel’s case, can be subjected to a form of media oppression.

Self-imposed cultural, social and political constraints are devastating our press. The most dangerous enemy of freedom of the press is the press itself.

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May 23, 2013

MEDIA COMMENT: The IBA’s ‘reformation’

Posted in Media at 12:40 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: The IBA’s ‘reformation’
By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK, 22/05/2013

MKs bashes blunders of Israel Broadcasting Authority during Knesset c’tee meeting discussing reforms of state-sponsored TV operations.

This past Tuesday, the Knesset Economics Committee, chaired by Professor Avishai Braverman (Labor) discussed rehabilitating the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

The IBA’s leadership, chairman Dr. Amir Gilat and executive director Yoni Ben-Menachem, are to be complimented for having brought to almost full fruition a process that began almost a decade ago and was considered by many to be impossible.

Yet the committee meeting was nothing but a left-wing bashing of the present leadership of the IBA. Politicians such as MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) called for the closing down of the state-sponsored television and the abolishment of the TV fee (the agra). All this in the context of “trying to save Israel’s public broadcasting.” Interestingly, not one MK from the Likud or Bayit Yehudi parties thought the discussion merited their presence.

The fact that the Israel Broadcasting Authority is a bloated behemoth is no secret. It employs close to 2,000 people. The highest salaries go to technicians whose jobs are outdated due to new technologies. There was no financial accountability at the IBA. Managers do not have budgets to balance and there is no system that would permit cost-itemizing of an hour’s broadcasting to facilitate budget control. The IBA’s management structure is arguably the worst of all public organizations in Israel.

These ills will hopefully be cured with the onset of what has been termed in Hebrew “the reform.” The agreements allow the management to reduce the workforce of the IBA to 1,200 and in principle should introduce modern technology into the IBA.

It took almost a decade to reach these agreements, which are technical in nature. The true sickness of our public media station, which was not discussed in the Knesset committee meeting, is that the IBA is not public, too many of its employees do not feel the need to serve the public; to consider what the public needs are and to obey the law that defines their job as public servants.

One might think the IBA should make efforts to present to the public the positive aspects of the Jewish state.

But this is not to be. Just this past week, with publication of the governmental report on the al-Dura case which absolved the IDF from harming Muhammad al-Dura, the IBA’s coverage could have been coming out of the United Nations. Al-Dura’s father, as well as France 2’s reporter Charles Enderlin, were given free time to further promulgate their version of the events without any tough questions asked.

This was not an isolated event. Consider the latest “report” of the anti-Israel B’Tselem organization, headed among others by the Israel Democracy Institute’s vice president Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer. This organization recently (May 9) accused the IDF of unnecessarily killing too many civilians in the recent Operation Pillar of Defense. In their own words: “The report challenges the common perception in the Israeli public and media that the operation was ‘surgical’ and caused practically no fatalities among uninvolved Palestinian civilians.”

The IBA’s Kol Yisrael radio station brought this accusation in its morning news as if it was a regular news agency report. It also gave B’Tselem space in its morning news roundup program.

We all know that B’Tselem is not a news organization.

Its reports are questionable at best and too often outright false in their accusations against Israelis. In this instance, NGO Monitor pointed out that the “report” is far from objective, that its sources are not reliable, that its assumptions about the motivation of the IDF are not based on fact, but rather surmise and that in part the B’Tselem press release contradicts its own findings.

The IBA is well aware that B’Tselem is unreliable. Back in 2008, Israel’s Media Watch president at that time, Dr.

Uzi Landau, sent a letter to IBA chairman Moshe Gavish in which he noted that various researchers – Tamar Sternthal from the CAMERA organization, Yonathan Halevy from the NFC website and others – have exposed the false accusations of B’Tselem. For example, B’Tselem had accused the IDF of killing a Palestinian youth on December 31, 2007, while the truth was that the youth had been killed by Hamas and Fatah fire.

Gavish justified Dr. Landau’s complaint. In his response, he noted that the IBA decided that any press release arriving at the news desk must undergo at least an initial veracity check. Dealing more specifically with B’Tselem, since the group had purveyed false information in the past, the IBA would undertake an in-depth check before bringing an item from this source to the public’s attention. It was also stipulated that it is imperative to note in the IBA’s reports that the item is not fact but rather a citation from a report, and the source must be given.

B’Tselem’s false accusations, among those of other radical left-wing organizations, are fodder for Israel’s enemies and anti-Semites all over the world. They can argue, justifiably, that if the IBA treats B’Tselem’s reports seriously, then there must be something to their claims.

The path to accusing the IDF of being and immoral, bloodthirsty occupation army which has no interest in the well-being of the local Arab population is short.

Has the IBA learned anything? Has it followed its own guidelines? Clearly not. IMW’s current president, former ambassador Dr. Meir Rosenne, asked in his May 12 letter to IBA chairman Dr. Amir Gilat: “Did the IBA undertake an in-depth check of the B’Tselem claims? When the IBA cites news from this organization, why doesn’t it note that the news comes from an organization with a clear political agenda? Will the IBA also provide broad coverage to reports coming from NGO Monitor, Camera, Palestinian Media Watch and Yehonatan Halevy when they provide in-depth reports about B’Tselem?” Rosenne finishes his letter asking: “Is it appropriate that the public broadcaster is the one who gives a public stage to these Israel haters?” In fact, the IBA’s staff has also on other occasions provided ammunition for the anti-Semites, material which was unjustified and meant to smear Israel. On April 24, the IBA TV Channel 1 Mabat Sheni documentary program aired two items which discussed the “price tag” issue and the “hilltop youth.” The item on the “price tag” was seemingly purchased from the BBC Panorama program. As one might expect, it was one-sided. The emerging picture was that the “price tag” mentality reflects all settlers east of the Green Line. Although the Yesha Council, for example, has time and again denounced any “price tag” actions, the broadcast item did not even attempt to include their critical reactions to the “price tag” perpetrators.

The second item did not try to balance matters. Eyal Tavor described “the second generation of settlers” and also dealt with the price tag and hilltop youth issues. The item misrepresented the settlement leadership, interviewing only the old-guard leadership. After the fact, we know that there was good reason for this. The true leadership, people such as Yossi Dagan, Gershon Mesika, Avi Roeh and others refused to be interviewed, knowing that they could not expect a fair shake from Tavor.

Moreover, Israel Hayom journalist Emily Amrussi, who was also interviewed, claimed her words were taken out of context and edited in a way which gave the impression that the hilltop youth do not respect Israel’s democracy.

It is the job of a news organization to put issues on the public’s agenda, perhaps especially when they hurt. But they must be thoroughly researched and the reporting must be fair. Too often, the IBA has done the opposite, alienating many people within Israel’s society. True reform at the IBA would mean that it becomes a public service organization. The IBA should replace its highhanded “we know more than you” ethos with that of the public servant, who is always attentive to the needs of Israel’s society and well-being.

May 9, 2013

MEDIA COMMENT: Israel’s impotent media council

Posted in Media at 8:41 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Israel’s impotent media council

By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK, 08/05/2013

The media treats not only women with disdain but also the nationalist camp.

The relevance of the issue of media supervision and regulation, internal or external, voluntary or legislated, was highlighted again this week when the subject we treated in last week’s column (“The media’s omerta,” May 2), the claims of sexual harassment against media icon Emmanuel Rosen, was discussed in the Knesset.

The Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women convened on Monday afternoon. Among the invited guests were representatives of government ministries, broadcast bodies, feminist NGOs, religious activists from Kolech and Takana, groups that assist victims of sexual harassment, and also Israel’s Media Watch.

Israel’s Press Council did not merit any positive attitude at the meeting; in fact, just the opposite.

One participant recalled an appeal to Dahlia Dorner, a former Supreme Court justice and the current president of Israel’s Press Council, made in May 2010, that was signed by almost 50 feminist organizations and personalities including activists and academics.

The appeal dealt with the decision of the Ha-Ir weekly to grant Dr. Yitzhak Laor many column inches, extending over 10 pages, plus the cover page, to respond to a negative report about him published in Haaretz on February 18, 2010.

Laor had been accused by former students at Tel Aviv University and other women of harassing them over a period of several years, a charge he denied. Other media outlets had immediately dealt with the subject, with Channel 10’s investigative reporting program Hamakor leading the way.

Despite that petition to Dorner and even the submission of a complaint to the police, Israel’s Press Council declined to discuss or otherwise involve itself in the matter.

One published testimony in the Haaretz story suggested Laor had once passed a woman at her desk at Haaretz and asked, “Are you wearing panties?” causing her to go to the bathroom to cry. Other girls came to comfort her, saying she wasn’t the only one.

She complained to the head of the news desk, Moshe Gal, but he “pretty much laughed it off,” she said.

Three years later, Dorner had adopted a slightly different position.

In a segment broadcast over the Educational TV network (ETV), the Tik Tikshoret (Media File) program this past weekend, itself until lately hosted by the same Emmanuel Rosen, the matter of the media’s behavior relating to the case was discussed.

Meirav Batito of Yediot Aharonot argued that until a charge sheet is presented in court, nothing can be publicized by the media. But Justice Dorner, who also participated in the panel, promptly contradicted her.

In her view it is permissible to publish information about sexual harassment, provided that the media takes sufficient steps to convince itself that the story is reliable and true. But did any media person consider turning to the council for assistance and aid when faced with sexual harassment? Presumably the experience in the case of Laor again convinced the victims that the council is not a positive force and should be even ignored in such matters.

The Israel Press Council, as we highlighted back on September 22, 2011, “does not have any legal means at its disposal to enforce its decisions….The process by which it decides whether or not to address a given issue…is not transparent…”

Furthermore, we asserted that the “council is lax in imposing its own ethics code on journalists…when its deliberations reveal unethical actions by media people, more often than not… the infractions are never corrected in the same way they appeared… sadly, it would seem that the Press Council is quick in defending its own, but somewhat slow when considering the… rights of the media consumers.”

Let us revisit its more recent record.

Already in August 2009, Dorner and the IPC preferred slow, cumbersome bureaucratic procedures when asked to intervene in response to the publication of pictures of rape victims in newspapers. Despite a bit of blurring, identification of the victims was possible, whereas the law is clear: no publishing of rape victims’ photographs is permissible.

The IPC avoided proactive intervention like the plague.

A second troubling administrative failure of the IPC was its handling of a complaint concerning the treatment of one of the writers of this column.

During Knesset deliberations over the amending of the Channel 10 Law last December, board chairman Avi Balashnikov let loose a tonguelashing, shouting “evil, evil, hard-hearted evil” in response to remarks Pollack made. Ran Binyamini, who reported the event, did not broadcast Pollak’s words nor did he give him the right of reply – an ethical violation. Following the refusal of the Israel Broadcasting Authority to deal with the matter, the IPC was approached.

The IBA responded to the IPC that Binyamini was reprimanded.

The executive director of the IPC, Arik Bachar, then decided this was sufficient reason to close the case. In fact, though, the IBA ethics committee backed Binyamini and forced the IBA to retract the reprimand. Pollak then requested that the case be reopened. But that has not happened. Bachar recently wrote in an email: “It is my assumption that I have exhausted all alternatives of investigation that the IPC possesses.”

One would think that with her many years on the bench, dealing with the many institutions of state administration, Dorner would be aware that to enforce the ethics code both power and an efficient apparatus are required. The media, however, during her terms in office, have time and again succeeded in avoiding any real punishment for wrongs, and has failed to put its own house in order. Is she bewitched by the media’s influence? Something is very wrong in Dorner land.

In February last year, the Tel Aviv Journalists’ Association decided to leave the IPC in protest against Dorner’s election to a third term as the council’s president. They protested that it was unethical and undemocratic for the current council to elect its president and that the council should first elect new members.

The new body, not the outgoing one, should be the forum that elects its president.

This was the imposition of “a minority opinion on the majority,” their representative stated.

And as for democracy, in a media critique column, Dror Eydar pointed out that the commotion surrounding the Rosen affair and possible suppression of women, including their harassment, should alert us to another form of discriminatory exclusion and stifling of personal voices. He pointed out that the media treats not only women with disdain but also the nationalist camp majority.

He asks, “does the media not objectify the conservative majority and turn it into something to be ridiculed?” Journalists with rightist views are not in any positions of power within the media, he writes. “There are no newscasters or interviewers who ask questions that deviate from the norm or raise issues other than the ‘accepted’ ones. There is not a single prime-time news show that is run or hosted by a conservative or rightist journalist.”

And we ask: should not pluralism as an expression of basic democracy also be a concern? Does the IPC or its president have anything to say about that? Sadly, Israel’s Press Council, which could have played an important role in increasing the prestige of Israel’s media and the respect it should get from the public, has for years done the precise opposite. It is “part of the club”; it’s actions are not open to public scrutiny and overall, it has just further convinced the public that something is very wrong in Israel’s media landscape.

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May 2, 2013

MEDIA COMMENT: The journalists’ ‘omerta’

Posted in Media at 7:56 pm by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: The journalists’ ‘omerta’

by YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK, 01/05/2013

Media personnel, from producers to editors to reporters, view everything as fair game – except their own environment or professional activities.

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.

Already 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.

After the 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.

The story 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 him.

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 or not.

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.

The Rosen 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 Haaretz newspaper.

To this day, Laor continues working as a journalist for Haaretz. 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 harassment.

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. Many 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. Only 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.

A proper system must be adopted to correct these errors of judgment. The journalists’ ‘omerta’ must be broken, the sooner, the better.

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