March 27, 2014

MEDIA COMMENT: Turning the media around

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:28 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Turning the media around


Given the prevalence of poor professionalism and lack of ethics in many countries, media consumers should be demanding revolutionary changes, and that goes for Israel, as well.

One really never knows where media revolutions begin, and why, or who or what causes the changes and how they develop. Some revolutions are positive while some are negative.

Given the prevalence of poor professionalism and lack of ethics in many countries, media consumers should be demanding revolutionary changes, and that goes for Israel, as well. Such changes have happened abroad and there is no reason why they should not also improve our media here at home.

Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of Britain’s The Sun, had to be taken to court to convince her to express regret over a variety of “errors” and “lapses of judgment.” These included a “cruel and harsh” and “personal” attack (her own words) on Labour MP Clare Short, a headline she termed a “terrible mistake.”

In another case, reporting the death of Harold Shipman with the headline “Ship ship hooray,” she owned up to “bad taste.” Another of her regrets was over the Sun’s attack on Haringey children’s services head Sharon Shoesmith following the death of “Baby P”. Brooks admitted that posting a photographer outside Shoesmith’s home was “cruel, harsh and over the top.”

Two months ago, the publisher of Florida’s St. Augustine Record, Delinda Fogel, declared that she intended “to eliminate the typos and grammar mistakes in the newspaper” in the coming year. What she did was to invite the public to come into the editorial offices to proofread pages from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

And she had a bonus offer: “We’ll keep a tally of the proofreading volunteers,” she wrote at the paper’s site, “and award a nice dinner for two to the person who helps us catch the most typos and errors.”

Has she kick-started a media revolution? Let us imagine expanding that operation. Imagine a newspaper in Israel doing the same, asking the public to identify all their Hebrew language errors!

Or, instead of rewriting press releases from NGOs, like Peace Now or B’tselem, a reporter in Israel would call in someone who represents the institution being accused of some offense to review the material and provide a detailed analysis. The pro-forma one-sentence rejection of the claim would be replaced by interesting reality checks. After all, news should be comprised of verifiable facts, and not just rumors.

BBC’s television output head has promised viewers that the corporation will not make any more allmale comedy panel shows and the corporation is determined to see women appearing in this habitually macho environment.

Here in Israel, that principle, if applied generally, would truly affect the under-represented “outsiders” and lead to true pluralism. Balanced panels rather than the usual disproportionate left-wing bias would be a major contribution to improving our media and making it less boring.

We have observed in our reports on media coverage of elections that the media picks its favorites and shuts out certain parties or politicians. In Israel, the law still stipulates supervised broadcasting of television electioneering advertisements but that doesn’t always contribute to true democratic elections. We could learn from what has been done in England.

There, OFCOM, the broadcasting regulator, has introduced new rules that impose upon television channels to show election broadcasts of a smaller party, taking into account its growing popularity and demanding it should be recognized as a “major party” as determined by an outside independent entity.

In all previous election campaigns since 1996, Israel’s Media Watch’s reviews have highlighted the detrimental effects of television and radio output.

Without any objective standards or even supervision by the special Central Elections Committee, a small group of editors and directors promote parties and demote others. This out-of-sight-out-of-mind practice surely is anti-democratic and must be altered.

A different area of local media bias that needs attention was highlighted by our neighbors. A 2012 study for MADA, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, recommended the need for Arab “media workers to be more brave and courageous to break all forms of self-censorship.”

As researcher Mahmoud Alfataftah phrased it, “the most dangerous [aspect] of it is the self-censorship, which is exercised by the media outlet or the journalist on themselves.” This is something we Israelis can also adopt.

A recent example highlights much of what is wrong with our own media here. Various politicians proposed legislation that for all intents and purpose will halt the distribution of a free newspaper, Israel Hayom.

As Lahav Harkov published in this newspaper on March 19, a bill sponsored by MKs Eitan Cabel (Labor), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), Elazar Stern (Hatnua), Ariel Attias (Shas) and Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) would effectively “put Israel Hayom out of business.”

The Orwellian bill seeks to “strengthen written journalism in Israel and ensure equal and fair conditions of competition between newspapers.”

Mind-boggling is the statement of Cabel that “free newspapers also hurt journalism as well as pluralism and democracy in Israel.”

Some of our legislators over the years have been criticized, at times unfairly, as being either too self-serving, too beholden to special interests, or even for lacking the intelligence needed to be an MK. In this case, however, no criticism could be unfair.

In a democracy, not only is a free press one free of draconian regulatory restraints, but there can be no justification for punishing a newspaper for being a handout. The bill, in this 30th year after 1984, supposedly seeks to save print journalism from “a deep crisis that is only worsening and most newspapers are collapsing economically,” as the appended explanation to the bill reads. In reality, it is simply an attempt to prevent any balance in the general media anti-Netanyahu onslaught. The bill’s goal is the exact opposite of the freedoms Israel should be championing.

This McCarthyist attempt to shut up a central media organ in Israel should have received allaround condemnation, especially from all those media outlets which normally consider freedom of speech a fundamental principle of democracy. Their thundering silence (excluding the Israel Democracy’s Institute “7th Eye” website, which was critical) in response to these MKs’ attempt to prevent Israel Hayom from appearing says it all. They are the staunch defenders only of the freedom of their own speech, not that of those they disagree with.

Israel’s Knesset should learn from one of our own in this matter and recall the remark of former chief justice Moshe Landau in his famous Kol Ha’am decision (HCJ 73/53): “A regime that presupposes what is good for a citizen to know, will in the end decide what it is best they should think.” He added, “for citizens to be able to enjoy the right to express an opinion, they must have the ability to access sources of information.”

A free newspaper is not a threat. The public should be given choice, including even the choice of not paying for their news. The public’s preferences should be welcomed and also protected. The real threat is a uniform media which lacks pluralism and prevents it from occurring naturally.

March 20, 2014

MEDIA COMMENT: Democracy’s blind watchdog

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:07 pm by yisraelmedad

Media comment: Democracy’s blind watchdog


One of the most effective media defenses that have been constructed to defend unethical media practices from criticism has been the claim that the media is “democracy’s watchdog.”

At the award ceremony of the Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism, caricaturist Shay Charka wittily drew several images of his view of the media’s “watchdog” status, summing it all up by drawing a blind dog leading a blind person – the media consumer.

As it happens, the title of Morten Skovsgaard’s research article in the April 2014 issue of Journalism reads “Watchdogs on a leash?” It deals with a perceived professional autonomy and the relationship of front-line media personnel with superiors. His main finding, based on the presumption that journalists actually do seek to maintain professional autonomy and independent discretion – a position we think is less than universally upheld – is that they seek to be free of business, political or other constraints.

As suggested by Shay Charka, in Israel, more often than not the public and even the news networks are those who are on a leash held by the journalists. Worse, it is the ombudsmen, whose job is to protect the public from journalists who abuse their position of power who are, or who have allowed themselves to be, tied up in chains of ineffectualness.

But they overwhelmingly reject complaints, justify the unethical product of journalists and rarely apply any punishment. Excelling in this regard is the Israel Press Council headed by a person now seeking to become Israel’s next president.

Journalists, interviewers and news anchors seem to have the last word, thus inserting a particular political viewpoint in a biased and unprofessional manner that goes unchecked. The semantic power, using special language codes, is a crucial instrument in the hands, and mouths, of media people.

The “language” used by journalists includes not only the text. In its broad sense it uses the subtexts, such as how scenes are filmed, whether slow-motion effects are used, music, close-ups, balance and more to present a topic.

These not only color subjects but more often than not exclude the possibility that a certain side could possibly be correct. The “language” is most apparent when dealing with issues relating to Jews residing in Judea and Samaria.

As we now know, the purchase of “Beit Hashalom,” a building purchased by Jews close by Kiryat Arba, has been approved by Israel’s Supreme Court. From the outset, the legitimacy of the purchase should have been considered only from the legal perspective. If legal, then there is nothing wrong with it and if illegal, then the authorities would be called upon to deal with the case appropriately. But from the start, much of the media treatment sought to portray the story in a negative and contentious frame. This was not because of the media’s normal tendency to sensationalize but primarily because Israel’s media and following its lead, the foreign media, will refuse, it seems, to accept any perspective other than that of conflict. More credence was given to claims of the local Arab Hebron residents, their allies among Israel’s post-Zionist camp, their sympathizers from non-Zionist NGOs and from the groups promoting a “human rights” agenda, when “human” excludes a Jew residing east of the 1949 armistice lines.

In the first instance, most of Israel’s media followed the lead of Haaretz, calling the property the “House of Dispute” rather than the name it was given by its legal purchasers, i.e. “House of Peace.” The IBA’s then ombudsman, Amos Goren, had to issue a directive to the staff under his supervision not to employ the derogatory description, but to little avail. His successor, Elisha Spiegelman, promptly rescinded the directive. Any suspicion that would portray the Jewish purchasers negatively was highlighted while the seemingly disturbing actions taken by the military government’s legal department were treated with understanding.

The Israeli media completely forgot its watchdog status.

Any other day of the week, anything done by the government establishment in any other area is looked at askance by the media. But here, the “House of Peace” was cataloged in the news rooms as a “bad Jew” story and anything adding substance to that story was swallowed hook, line and sinker.

AN IN-DEPTH review of media coverage involving the Jews of Judea and Samaria will reveal a similar pattern of “blind watchdog” behavior. Only a very select group of journalists are capable of breaking through the media mindset that Jews in the territories are bad news. The social, political and even psychological atmosphere in our newspapers, radio stations and television channels is such as to keep the dog’s eyes closed.

This is not to be interpreted as a blanket excuse for ignoring negative or even criminal acts committed by Jews against Arabs. There is no denying the large number of so-called price tag attacks against Arabs. The media has justifiably consistently demanded action by the police against the perpetrators. Yet the same media is rather quiet when it comes to rock-throwing incidents, in their hundreds, against Jews. It is neither outraged nor incensed about the violation of religious freedom of Jews on the Temple Mount. The demand that violent Muslim extremists harassing Jews on the Temple Mount, throwing rocks at them and worse be brought to justice is not heard.

Last year, Dorit Yurdan-Dothan, a left-wing activist, photographed an “attack” of an Arab woman at the Kiryat Moshe Light Rail train station, by Jewish teenagers. Her clip went viral. It was presented as a prime example of violent racism of Jews against Arabs. A year later, other pictures taken by the security cameras at the site, proved it was the Arab woman who initiated the contretemps.

One might have thought newsmakers would come out with headlines such as “Left-wing activist fabricated events (again).” But no, 12 months later the media hides behind the excuse that no one recalls the matter and that it is no longer “relevant.” The truth is that the negative impression created a year ago lingers on and today’s delayed “minor details” will not dispel the false impression created by the media.

Andrea Levin of CAMERA, in writing of Haaretz, notes that “factual accuracy is often sacrificed to political predilections.”

Amira Hass, the paper’s reporter based now in Ramallah and previously in Gaza, was ordered by a Magistrate’s Court to pay $60,000 in damages to the Jewish community of Hebron for a false column back in 2001. Last April, her paper published her opinion piece which claimed that “throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule” and that PA schools should offer “basic classes in resistance.” Has anyone demanded that she and her publisher be brought to a court of law for incitement to violence?

The media in this country is blind, not because of the hand of God, but because it has purposely blinded itself. Its self-imposed blindness is harmful to Israel’s democracy and social fabric. The blindfold should be removed, and the sooner the better.


March 13, 2014

MEDIA COMMENT: Can the IBA survive?

Posted in Media tagged at 12:42 pm by yisraelmedad

Can the IBA survive?


Does Israel need a publicly funded broadcasting authority? We believe that the answer is yes, but only if it is public in the true sense of the word.

Faced with financial restraints, major changes in the collection of the license fee, proposed technical alterations and programming challenges, the director-general of a country’s public broadcasting network, in deciding to close a broadcast channel, last week declared:

“The organization has had to look for savings – so that we, like everyone else in these difficult economic times, can live within our means. My concern… is to ensure that the quality of what we do is not compromised along the way. We are here to produce exceptional and distinctive programs and services…but… something has to give. And that means hard choices. But there is one choice I will never make – and that’s to sacrifice quality…Reconciling these two aims – financial and strategic – has led us to this difficult conclusion.”

No, that was not the reaction of the heads of the Israel Broadcasting Authority to the Landes Report and the decision by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan to close down IBA TV and then reopen it.

That was Danny Cohen, the head of BBC television.

The difference says it all. The Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is outstanding in one aspect – the dislike it has generated within the Israeli public.

Of course no one likes to pay taxes, but the IBA took its tax collection to extremes. On the one hand, 40 percent of the population did not pay the TV tax while on the other, those unfortunate enough not to belong to the Arab or haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector often found themselves faced with hungry lawyers, paid by the IBA, collecting outrageous amounts of back payments from those who found it difficult to pay to start off with.

The TV tax is but one symptom of the malaise at the IBA. The central problem of this organization is that for years it always knew better.

The IBA was not a public broadcasting service in the true sense of the word. It did not feel compelled to try to understand what the media consumer in Israel really needs or wants. Consider a simple example – classical music. IBA radio has a classical music channel. Has anyone within the IBA ever asked the public whether it is satisfied with the classical music offered on this channel? Is there too much opera or too little? Too much in-between chatter or too little? Is there sufficient modern music or do we want more of Mozart, Bach and Schubert? To the best of our knowledge this has never been done, not by Kol Hamusika or even in relation to sports broadcasts.

We have often noted in this column the narrow-mindedness which characterizes the IBA. There is only one legal commentator and his views, we all know, are leftist. The IBA never thought it necessary to balance him with someone from the Right. The IBA is not pluralistic. The political commentator has been there forever; his ideology is left-ofcenter, as we all know. The mythical long-time anchor of Reshet Bet, Arieh Golan, is immovable, even though his professional conduct is too often questionable. As documented in this column only last week, Golan is not capable of seeing an issue from all of its sides.

We also have not mentioned Keren Neubach, the social advocate who has usurped the IBA’s airwaves to support her personal views and who has very little respect or patience with those whose views are opposed to hers.

The list goes on. The IBA’s broadcasts are opinionated, narrow- minded and far from carrying out its mandate by law, which is to provide pluralistic broadcasting.

Who is to blame? Is it management? The employees? The politicians who have appointed the IBA oversight committees? In truth, all of them. The politicians used the appointments to the IBA plenum to give goodies to their acquaintances.

The management during these past 20 years did not instill good managerial practices. For example, to this very day, no one in the IBA knows the cost of an hour’s studio usage. The employees? They were always on the side which fought valiantly against modernization. The number of technical staff used for broadcasts could be drastically reduced through the use of technologically advanced equipment, but the unions would not let this happen.

Responsibility is a foreign word at the IBA. The legal department has been run by Hanna Matzkevitch for over 15 years, accruing along the way hundreds of millions of shekels in legal debts. In too many years, the IBA has had to write off losses of between NIS 50 million to NIS 100m. in payments for legal proceedings against it. Has anyone thought that perhaps this means that the legal department has failed the public and its head should resign? Of course not.

A broadcasting authority which cannot make a decision regarding whether it wants a certain type of program, such as the Zionist-oriented Latma satirical program, has lost any justification for its existence.

As was reported on these pages last week, the Landes Committee recommended sweeping changes. Channel 1 TV is to be closed down. Programming will be outsourced. Only the news department will remain and it will be unified with the radio news department. The staff is to be cut by over half, with many physical and property assets to be sold off. There are some additional very positive recommendations.

Educational TV will become part of the IBA, will no longer include independent news broadcasts and will be geared to the young generation of Israelis. The TV tax will be abolished; the budget of the IBA cut by a quarter, with the remaining funding coming from a levy on cars and from the general budget of the Israeli government.

All of this is good news, but will it be implemented? How will the new IBA really look? One of the glaring omissions of the Landes report is the demand for the IBA to become a truly public service.

Without this, we do not expect any fundamental change in the final product. There is not much in the Landes commission’s recommendations which will assure that the IBA will be a truly pluralistic and Zionistic organization. The recommendations are mostly of a technical managerial nature, focusing on structure rather than content.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan has expressed his full support for the Landes commission’s recommendations. So has Finance Minister Yair Lapid. But is this sufficient to assure implementation? Probably not. One may expect a strong reaction coming from the IBA unions and the Histadrut. Will Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu back the recommendations even in the face of a general media strike? Without his firm and strong backing, nothing will happen.

Does Israel need a publicly funded broadcasting authority? We believe that the answer is yes, but only if it is public in the true sense of the word. Channel 2’s Ilana Dayan, speaking at a quickly arranged support rally for the IBA, said that “public broadcasting, unfettered by financial considerations, must be allowed to continue as a truth-seeking alternative to commercial broadcasting.”

Sadly, the IBA in the past 20 years has been a far cry from a truth-seeking alternative. The onus is on the IBA to show that it can change for the better. This is its only option.

Anything else will doom it.


March 7, 2014

MEDIA COMMENT: Views which are not fit to print

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:22 pm by yisraelmedad

Media comment: Views which are not fit to print


In the Ukraine crisis, much more that is also apparently not fit to print, or discussed in depth, as far as the various media outlets are concerned.

The Crimean affair, a 21st century version of the “Great Game” period of rivalry and conflict some 150 years ago, is playing out dramatically. The Israeli public is exposed now in stark fashion to what is happening outside our region. The drama, the battle of wits between the West and the Kremlin, the weakness of President Barack Obama and his team, are the topics discussed by pundits and mavens. But only one newspaper, Israel Hayom, has headlined one of the obvious implications of this sordid story.

In 1994, the world, led by the Western powers, signed a document assuring the newborn Ukrainian republic that Crimea is part and parcel of Ukraine. This did not come easily and the Ukrainian government was required to give up all nuclear weapons in its possession. The Budapest Memorandum was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma and promised to uphold the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, with its Article One affirming: “the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”

Today, 20 years later, this international document seems to be worthless. An international agreement which is not backed by solid interests which can assure that it is kept will not hold water. This, of course, has serious implications on the ongoing negotiations of Israel and its neighbors.

The threats directed at Israel, made recently by EU President Martin Schultz, Secretary of State John Kerry and now President Obama, that it will be isolated unless it signs a peace agreement would seem rather meaningless in view of Ukraine’s current experience.

Signing an agreement seems not to guarantee any security either, especially when a crisis develops. But such news is not fit to print for it does not jibe with the politically correct notion that only a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state side by side of Israel can guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish and Democratic state.

On the morning following Netanyahu’s recent meeting with Obama, Arieh Golan of Kol Yisrael posed many questions to Minister Yuval Steinitz. But Golan did not relate to the Crimean affair. Is Golan’s worldview so narrow as to prevent him from asking questions such as: “Minister Steinitz, don’t you think that the recent events in the Crimea should put a damper on Israel’s willingness to sign international agreements?” Steinitz was not asked whether Israel would learn from this experience that, as in the events preceding the 1967 Six Day War, international agreements remain worthless and that Israel must base its policies on its own ability to defend them, rather than expect other countries to do the job for it.

THERE IS much more that is also apparently not fit to print, or discussed in depth, as far as the various media outlets are concerned.

Consider human rights. When Human Rights Watch criticizes Israel, we all get to know about it. But when HRW is exposed as being anti-Semitic by UN Watch, nobody finds out. In fact, most people in Israel have never heard of Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, who struggles valiantly and successfully to expose the truth about human rights as practiced in the United Nations and other so-called civil rights NGOs.

In December, 2012, Neuer made it a point to criticize HRW for having Richard Falk, a well documented anti-Semite, on its board.

HRW responded by sacking Falk. Neuer’s struggle to assure that the UN Human Rights Commission would not be controlled by the world’s dictatorships, who have anything but human rights on their agenda, has been quite successful, as also reported in The Jerusalem Post but hardly elsewhere in Israel.

Richard Falk is finally ending his tenure as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quite a few Israel-bashers of the Phyllis Bennis ilk (Bennis is quoted as saying, “The Palestinians, they were not Nazis, they were not responsible for the Holocaust, but they were the ones who paid the price”), were hopeful to get the coveted job. But, this was not to be; as reported by UN Watch the nominating board disqualified five such candidates.

Now, one might think that our press, which knows to ask tough questions, especially when Israel is on the receiving side of international criticism, would find that such success is not only worthy of some headlines, but also begs some serious questions.

For example, where is the Foreign Ministry in all of this? Why has it been asleep all these years, why is it that only an independent NGO such as UN Watch struggles against these iniquities? A topic which is very much “in” today is the imminent threat of BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – by a variety of entities abroad. This threat is hailed as a reason why Israel must leave Judea and Samaria. But when NGO Monitor exposes the sources funding these threats, it is ignored.

No one asks the various European ambassadors about their countries’ role in contributing to these anti-Semitic activities.

The representatives of these European countries who are funding what can only be described as subversive activity to undermine Israel’s democracy are treated with fawning respect.

Another well-kept secret is the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an NGO dealing with Arab affairs in our neighborhood.

Iran is high up on the list of topics discussed in Israel’s media. Yet does anyone here know that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a Holocaust denier? The Iranian foreign minister tried to deny this allegation, but MEMRI has documented that Khamenei stated the following, in Persian on February 7, 2006: “A very important topic, one which lays to shame the Western culture which prides itself with the freedom of expression, the freedom that they always pride themselves with, it does not allow anyone of them to have doubts about the myth of the killing of Jews, known as the Holocaust. On this topic there is no freedom of expression.”

Is this not of interest to the Israeli public? Shouldn’t information such as this be more prominently publicized in our media? Should not the correspondents based in Washington, London or Berlin be pressing the leaders of those countries negotiating with Iran with some serious questions? And shouldn’t this be done with the same intensity of the foreign media’s pressure on our ministers? Where are our local reporters, such as Ilana Dayan, who confront Israeli officials and politicians with tough questions? Balance and pluralism in the media is not restricted to the number of people appearing, or the social makeup of the various presenters. It is also to be viewed in terms of what is not being asked, and what is withheld from the public.


MEDIA COMMENT: 103 FM’s media ‘excellence’

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:17 pm by yisraelmedad

Media comment: 103 FM’s media ‘excellence’


The station has invested much effort in putting together an impressive cast of people on the various programs.

People from all over the world look at Israel and see innovation written everywhere. Israelis tend to excel, especially when it comes to science and technology.

Although the World Cup in football has not yet been won, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to a few Israelis and Israel even made it to first place in the Eurovision song contest.

Israel also has a radio station which excels: the 103 FM regional radio station broadcasting for the greater Tel Aviv area.

The station has invested much effort in putting together an impressive cast of people on the various programs.

These include Ben Caspit, Gabi Gazit, Ron Kofman, Natan Zehavi, Advocate Yoram Sheftel, Varda Raziel-Jacont and the “comedians” Shai (Goldstein) and Dror (Rafael). These people are outstanding representatives of a model of radio programming especially tailored for the Tel Aviv-area population.

Raziel-Jacont is a good example. According to her biography as it appears on the 103 FM website, she is a psychologist who is also an avid lover of classical music. Her claim to fame originates most naturally from her psychological advice program aired on 103 FM radio weekdays at 4 pm.

As reported by the Calcalist news site, on October 9 last year, her programs were suspended for two weeks by the Second Authority for TV and Radio (SATR). In one of her programs (and this was not the best of the lot), she read from a letter describing a listener who was in extreme mental stress, was considering suicide and requested Zakont’s help. Her answer was that the letter was manipulative – and she went on to explain that there are circumstances in which suicide is legitimate.

Another listener, who said she was suffering from sexual abuse, was told to date many men and seek multiple sexual experiences as the best way to deal with her trauma. And all this sage advice is dispensed at 4 p.m., when most children and adolescents are asleep.

In another instance, she supported the use of physical force against children. The present-day generation of parents was described as “the cream and banana generation.”

Anyone interested is invited to the 103 FM webpage which provides abstracts of her wonderful programs.

The fact that she was suspended for two weeks presumably only increased her ratings. In any case, one cannot discern any fundamental change in the quality of her programming following the suspension.

Obtaining harsh sentences from the SATR is almost daily business at the station. It obviously makes for good publicity.

Kofman is one of the station’s sports commentators.

On July 9, 2012, he had a most exciting conversation with Ben Caspit, moderator of a light news program.

This conversation included epithets such as “zero,” “rag,” “journalist whore,” “bedroom spokesperson,” “belong in the gutter,” “animal” and more. The SATR was unhappy but did not go beyond a “tsk, tsk” admonishment.

FM 103, it seems, was delighted; on its website, under sportscasting, the first item is a link to this specific instance of excellence in media discourse.

Zehavi, though, is the station’s star. His language managed to prod SATR into actually fining the station NIS 80,000 at the end of 2012. In January 2014, as a result of a verbal attack on MK Israel Eichler, he was the cause for a NIS 69,900 fine on the station. One of his most important achievements is his running feud with Sheftel, a colleague at the station he describes as “the disgusting radio presenter.”

Zehavi is an extreme left-winger, Sheftel, an extreme right-winger. Both agree on one thing, namesly that it is good business to curse each other in public.

Zehavi is a very sensitive person. He is known for slapping lawsuits on people, especially those who have the nerve to attack him verbally. After all, freedom of speech should not be overdone.

Shai and Dror are a model couple. Their past is rich.

They could be described as malefactors, offenders, miscreants and more, for a court of law found them guilty of libel against fellow journalist Matti Golan, which the judge termed “a crusade” against him. They do fit in well with the groundbreaking atmosphere of 103 FM.

In one of their programs, Dror Rafael informed listeners that he had easily managed to pass a police breath test while driving under the influence. The program received another slap on the wrist from SATR’s ombudsman, but no fines or suspension.

This couple is a model of good behavior for children. In the best tradition, they show that the best way to assert oneself is to do so at the expense of the weak. What’s better than to make jokes about deaf people on the day dedicated to the deaf population? This took place on May 25, 2010. The response of 103 FM to complaints was that if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.

Only two weeks ago, we reported on their unabashed foul treatment of Sapir Sabah, the teenager who complained against her teacher’s extreme left-wing propaganda voiced in class. This too, probably was not well received at 103 FM, since the SATR has not decided to fine the station for the infraction.

Radio 103 FM has full backing from the Israeli press council. Paragraph 17 of the ethics code deals with outside employment of journalists. It states that: “A journalist shall not engage in any occupation, work, service, public relations, advertising and soliciting advertisements which may give rise to the suspicion or the appearance of a conflict of interest or of misleading the public.”

Especially in view of this clause, Gazit and Zehavi appear in various radio advertisements on issues that might at times be broadcast on their own program.

Former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, the president of the press council, knows of this practice.

Does she take any measures? No.

Is this good business? Yes, if profits are the only important criterion. Do we have the right to demand that also on the airwaves, morality and the spirit of the law be obeyed? Don’t the residents of the greater Tel Aviv area deserve something better?