The Israel Press Council approves a change to ethics rules that forbids journalists and media outlets from discriminating against and excluding certain populations from their coverage. Among those opposing the change: the editor of ‘Israel Hayom’ and the publisher of ‘Haaretz.’
By Oren Persico
The Israel Press Council last month approved a change to the Rules of Journalistic Ethics according to which media outlets should not discriminate against various population segments or exclude them from their coverage. The change, which was put forth by Union of Journalists in Israel chairman Yair Tarchitsky, was approved 14 to 4, with one abstention. Among those who opposed the measure were representatives of Israeli newspaper publishers — Aharon Lapidot of Israel Hayom and Amos Shoken of Haaretz.
Tarchitsky began pushing for the change at the beginning of 2016, and came in response to media-initiated public opinion polls that sampled only the Jewish population of Israel — a problem that has been covered here by The Seventh Eye — and the ongoing exclusion of news coverage concerning the Arab population of Israel, a phenomenon exposed and documented in recent months by the “Representation Index,” a project of Sikkuy, the Berl Katznelson Foundation, The Seventh Eye, and Yifat Media Research.
After a number of meetings and debates on the proposed change to the ethics rules, the matter was finally brought for a vote late last month. The final version adds four words (the Hebrew is shorter) to the Rules of Journalistic Ethics, so that it now reads (emphasis added):
The difference between the two versions is small but significant. The previous version, that which was in place until now, forbade publications that encouraged racism or unlawful discrimination. The new version forbids media outlets themselves from excluding or discriminating against various population segments.
Along with Tarchitsky, support for the new rule was led by new members of the Press Council — journalists Tal Schneider, Ilil Shahar, Danny Gutweind, and Elad Man (chairman of The Seventh Eye). Among the most prominent people opposing it was Aharon Lapidot, deputy editor of Israel Hayom, a newspaper that regularly publishes public opinion polls that sample only Jews.
According to Press Council members who were present for the vote, Lapidot claimed that the company that provides the newspaper with its public opinion polls, New Wave Research, cannot conduct overnight flash polls that include the entire Israeli population, and that it always includes a disclosure about the identity of...Read More